By Sam Bridge
Heavyweight fighters marvel at construction of venue for Clash on the Dunes event on December 7
Saudi Arabia has been hailed for building one of the world’s largest outdoor stadiums in under two months - ready for the so-called Clash on the Dunes boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz.
In less than a week Saudi Arabia will host what is regarded as one of the biggest sporting events to ever staged in the Middle East as the heavyweights square off in a world championship bout sponsored by the Public Investment Fund (PIF).
The 15,000-seat purpose-built outdoor arena’s construction kicked off on October 7 and used almost 300 tons of steel to cover an area of 10,000 sq m at the centre of historic UNESCO heritage site, Diriyah, the birthplace of the first kings of Saudi Arabia.
It took 175 working dedicated staff to finish the works in time and, touring the Diriyah Arena, Ruiz said: “It’s amazing man, it’s crazy how they built everything in a month and a half. It’s amazing to be fighting over here, it’s going to be really historic and I’m planning to make history over here. It’s a lot different. When I first got here none of this was here so it’s unbelievable.”
The massive structure will take more than 2,000 staff members to operate it on fight night and will seat 300 media with hundreds more seated in a nearby media centre.
Fans are flocking to Diriyah from all over the world for the December 7 fight with people from over 65 countries buying tickets.
Joshua said: “It’s going to be an incredible night and I’m thrilled so many of my fans are going to be there, particularly from the UK.
“It’ll definitely be a night people will tell their grandchildren they were at, one of those iconic evenings of boxing. Everyone from Saudi has been brilliant to work with."
The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, a month of sports which kicked off with Formula E, the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.
The Diriyah Season is also supported by the Diriyah Music Festival with concerts taking place around the event. On December 6, the night before the Clash On The Dunes, major artists who are yet to be announced will perform.For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.