Anthony Joshua insists he ‘likes’ Saudi Arabia and refuses to criticise the country’s regime
‘I don’t know what sports washing’: Anthony Joshua insists he ‘likes’ Saudi Arabia and refuses to criticize the country’s regime ahead of his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah… as heavyweight star says: ‘I am here to have fun’
- Heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua says he ‘don’t know’ what sportswashing is
- He ‘likes’ Saudi Arabia, despite massive control over the LIV Golf series event
- Joshua wants to regain his title against Usyk in the Jeddah Super Dome
- AJ said he had a ‘really good time’ in Saudi Arabia last time and that he was ‘treated’ well
Anthony Joshua says he “don’t know” what sports washing is and insists he “likes” Saudi Arabia, despite the massive scrutiny surrounding the inaugural event of the LIV Golf series.
Joshua wants to reclaim the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts he lost to Oleksandr Usyk when he faced the Ukrainian boxer again on August 20 at the Jeddah Super Dome.
When asked about the current situation in Saudi Arabia, Joshua said he was “not involved in those things” and that he was just there to “have a good time, interact with the locals and entertainment to Saudi to Arabia.”
Anthony Joshua says he ‘don’t know’ sports washing and insists he ‘likes’ Saudi Arabia
AJ will face Usyk for the second time this year, having lost his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles after a unanimous points decision before a sold-out crowd at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.
Joshua immediately activated the rematch clause in their contract after his loss and Eddie Hearn recently announced that the fight will take place at the Jeddah Super Dome later this year.
About the location of the battle and the country’s human rights record, Joshua said: “I don’t know what that is.” [sportswashing] is. I’m here to win the heavyweight world champion. I love Saudi. I think Saudi is good. I’m fine here. I am treated really well.
“All those accusations, for me I’m not caught up in all those things. I’m here to have fun, to mingle with the locals, to bring entertainment to Saudi.’
Joshua will try to win back the titles he lost to Oleksandr Usyk on August 20 of this year
Eddie Hearn recently announced that the fight will take place at the Jeddah Super Dome
Joshua’s comments about the fight in Saudi Arabia come amid the controversy surrounding the inaugural event of the LIV Golf series.
Players signing up for the LIV series have been criticized and widely condemned for the human rights abuses committed by the Saudi regime, which funds LIV to the tune of $2 billion.
Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia are among the other stars signed up to LIV Golf, and they all played in the tour’s inaugural event at the Centurion Club earlier this month, won by 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel .
Schwartzel took home £3.2 million in prize money for his win at the 54-hole event, which is more than the £2.5 million England’s Matt Fitzpatrick won for his US Open win, one of the traditional and most prestigious four major golf championships.
AJ’s comments come amid massive scrutiny surrounding the inaugural event of the LIV Golf Series
Joshua has fought in Saudi Arabia before – facing Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh in December 2019
The athletes have come under fire for their involvement in the event, as fans believe the tournament was created to divert attention from the country’s human rights record.
Still, Joshua seems excited about the prospect of fighting in Saudi Arabia. The match against Usyk will see his second fight in the country.
The 32-year-old was found against Andy Ruiz Jr in Riyadh in December 2019 after losing to him at Madison Square Garden in New York earlier that year.
Meanwhile, Usyk dismissed claims that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had given him additional motivation for the fight.
AJ said he is having a ‘really good time’ in Saudi Arabia and being ‘treated’ very well
Meanwhile, Usyk rejected claims that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had given him additional motivation for the fight
‘My friends, people close to me, died in the war. When so many people suffer, I have no idea how it can affect anything positive,” Usyk said.
‘I was there for a month, I saw with my own eyes what happened there: rockets flying and fighter jets flying. It’s terrible.’
Joshua paid his respects by saying, “Great for Usyk, the Klitschko brothers, everyone in Ukraine. I know it’s been hard, but hard times don’t last long.
‘Keep your head up, the world is watching. The world supports… anyone who is going through difficult times, we are always with them, especially the Ukrainian people at this time.”