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Design & Development

‘Breathtaking’ Saudi stadium ready for mega-fight

The first images have been revealed of the purpose-built Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia, which will host the high-profile heavyweight boxing clash between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr next month.

The 15,000-capacity venue has been constructed in less than two months, with the world title rematch scheduled for December 7.

Fight promoter Eddie Hearn said: “The arena and site are utterly breathtaking.”

A workforce of 175 people supported the lightning-quick development of the arena, with 3,000 square metres of scaffolding and 295 tonnes of steel used.

On the night of the main event, there will be 2,000 staff members ready to welcome visitors from more than 60 countries across the world, according to organisers, with ticket-holders having been granted an automatic visa to enter the kingdom.

After the fight, it will take about a month for the venue to be dismantled, with 95% of the construction material set to be used at other sites.

Saudi Arabia, which was selected as the host of the bout ahead of rival proposals from Dubai and Wales, hosted British boxer Amir Khan’s win over Billy Dib in July and Callum Smith’s victory over George Groves in the World Boxing Super Series final in September 2018.

It was only confirmed that the fight would take place at the site in August.

The Diriyah Arena is situated in the Diriyah Oasis entertainment hub in the north-eastern suburbs of Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. The hub features ice skating, sky-diving, jet-skiing and ziplining amongst a host of other activities.

The so-called ‘Clash On The Dunes’ is part of the Diriyah Season, a month of sporting action that started with a Formula E race, with the Diriyah Tennis Cup and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival also on the schedule.

Joshua is seeking to win back his WBA, IBF and WBO world title belts following his shock defeat to Ruiz in New York in June.

Images: Diriyah Season