Oleksandr Usyk dances with fans in Saudi Arabia and Anthony Joshua is mobbed as heavyweights participate in promotional filming and face off once again
Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua have been mobbed by boxing fans in Saudi Arabia as they participated in promotional filming on Wednesday.
The heavyweights are currently out in the Middle East after attending the first press conference for their August 20 rematch, which will take place in Jeddah.
Usyk and Joshua shared a long face-off at the presser and have now had to come face-to-face once more.
The pair stood together in a ring set up in a public space in the city and stared intensely at each other once more.
When this face-off was concluded, they went their separate ways for more promotional filming.
Both boxers also spent time with the fans who had come to see them.
Usyk danced among the crowd, while AJ was mobbed and greeted his supporters.
Joshua is especially popular in the region having previously boxed in Saudi for his win over Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
The Usyk rematch is reportedly set to break all records for a boxing site deal, but AJ may still earn less than he did for the Ruiz fight.
As the first fight between them in 2019 was a voluntary defence, Ruiz Jr did not have a strong hand in negotiations.
He signed a deal which included a rematch clause and saw him earn significantly less than AJ, even in the second fight.
Therefore the majority of the purse money from the reported $60million (£48.7million) Saudi deal back then went straight to Joshua.
This time around with Usyk though, things are different. Because he was a mandatory challenger, the Ukrainian had more leverage.
He too agreed a rematch clause, but only on the condition that the second fight was a 50/50 financial purse split.
According to the Starthe Saudi pact this time is in the region of $80million (£65million) for the bout on August 20 – breaking the record set by the Ruiz Jr fight.
There has also been criticism of the deal amid claims of Saudi Arabia sportswashing.
Amnesty International have said it is time for the participants to use their platforms to spark debate over human rights issues in the country.
“As we said with golfers in the LIV series and with the sale of Newcastle United, we’d like to see high-profile sporting figures speaking out about human rights to break the malign spell of Saudi sportswashing,” said Peter Frankel, economic affairs director at Amnesty International UK.
“We would urge Anthony Joshua to use his platform to show solidarity with those who’ve been persecuted under Mohammed bin Salman’s sweeping crackdowns.”
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