Saudi Arabia’s Prince Fahd bin Abdulaziz has said sports and entertainment play a “central role” in the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, the strategy behind the nation’s transformation, ahead of the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ tournament which will see heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk face Briton Anthony Joshua.
The fight, which will take place in Jeddah on August 20, will be one of a host of major sporting events to take place in Saudi Arabia as the nation looks to bolster a new generation of sporting enthusiasts, said Prince Fahd, spokesperson for the global rights holder for the world heavyweight championship Skill Challenge Entertainment.
“The country’s esteemed leadership are truly invested in the impact sport can have in improving the lives of its people and we are fully aligned to support the transformation,” he said. “The changes already implanted have already had a massive impact on people in our country.”
“You can really sense how excited Saudis are to see some of the world’s biggest sports events take place in the Kingdom.”
Prince Fahd said one of the major reasons to host events like the Usyk vs Joshua showdown, which is being billed as one of the biggest heavyweight rematches in the history of the sport, in the Kingdom is to inspire the locals and future generations at a grassroots level.
“Since the last fight, Clash of the Dunes, in 2019, we’ve witnessed a 300 percent increase in men and women participating in boxing and the number of boxing gyms increase from seven to 59,” he said. “Through hosting further events like this, including the first women’s boxing championships, we aim to inspire over 500,000 individuals to take up the sport in the next four years.”
By hosting the World Heavyweight Championship, Prince Fahd, speaking at a press conference in Jeddah, said he hoped that a key outcome will be to “inspire the nation and region to try the sport and hopefully fall in love with it like so many already have.”
“Alongside this we want to showcase the true Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world: The wonderful people, the country's transformation, the beauty of the landscape on the Red Sea,” he added. “Hosting the World Heavyweight Championship is a culmination of everything happening in the Kingdom at the moment.”
“The changes and transformation as result of Vision 2030 inspire us to host some of the biggest global sporting events like this. This was really behind what gave us at Skill Challenge Entertainment the ambition to deliver this event and showcase Saudi globally.”
Last week, Al Arabiya English reported how hundreds of young Saudi men and women have taken part in a cinematic promo for the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ tournament.
Featuring 300 Saudi nationals, the film is shot on location in both London and Jeddah.
“There was an immense amount of pride during the filming of the promo video,” said Prince Fahd. “ For the main part of the video, Anthony Joshua and Usyk met face to face in the historical part of Jeddah alongside 300 locals which gave a glimpse into the excitement the locals have towards us hosting this event in the Kingdom.”
“The fighters embraced the moment and bounced off the incredible atmosphere created. They both commented on how amazing the historical area of Jeddah was, it felt incredible to be there for that moment and we hope everyone loves it as much as we all loved creating it.”
He added: “Rage on the Red Sea is set to be one of this year’s biggest sporting moments globally, happening right here on our doorstep. I encourage you to be part of history and come to the fight, you will have an incredible time. We are all ambitious and continue to push boundaries so fans coming to Jeddah on August 20th can expect the unexpected.”
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