JOSHUA EXACTS REVENGE AGAINST RUIZ JR IN HISTORIC REMATCH IN SAUDI ARABIA

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua, IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight championships, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. 7th December 2019. Picture By Mark Robinson. Anthony Joshua celebrates

In the biggest Heavyweight fight of the decade, Anthony Joshua OBE (23-1, 21 KOs) recaptured his position as the unified World Heavyweight Champion with a masterful unanimous decision victory over Andy Ruiz Jr (33-2, 22 KOs) in a rematch that captured the world’s attention. In front of thousands of rabid fans at the Diriyah Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Joshua exacted his revenge against Ruiz, who six months ago dethroned the undefeated kingpin in epic fashion at Madison Square Garden in New York. Joshua will return to the U.K. as the unified IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Heavyweight Champion and now two-time world heavyweight champion.

In the evening’s chief support bout, Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs) and Michael Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs) battled for 12 back-and-forth rounds which resulted in a split draw – the first draw of each fighter’s career. In the ring following the fight, Povetkin and Hunter spoke about their desire for a rematch to settle the score. Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) delivered an impressive unanimous victory over Mariusz Wach (35-6, 19 KOs) to further enhance his case for a title shot in 2020.
 
Filip Hrgovic (10-0, 8 KOs) remained undefeated with a knockout of Eric Molina (28-5, 19 KOs) in the third round following a dominating performance. Opening the main card on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN from Saudi Arabia, Mahammadrasul Majidov (2-0, 2 KOs) defeated Tom Little (10-8, 3 KOs) via a second round TKO. Two four-round bouts were added to the main portion of the card, highlighted by an impressive first round knockout from rising prospect Diego Pacheco (8-0, 7 KOs) over Selemani Saidi (20-16-5, 15 KOs). Saudi Arabia’s first professional boxer Zuhayr Al Qahtani made more history by becoming the Kingdom’s first titleholder as he outpointed Omar Dussary (7-1-1, 1 KO) to win the WBC Middle East Lightweight title. Majid Al Naqbi (4-0, 2 KOs) stopped Ilia Beruashvili (8-13, 4 KOs) in three rounds and Drago “Hopey” Price (2-0, 1 KO) defeated Swedi Mohamed (12-7-2, 3 KOs) by third round TKO.

QUOTES FROM SAUDI ARABIA
 
Anthony Joshua
 
On his performance: “Man, the first time was so nice – I had to do it twice! A man like me don’t make no excuses, my boy Derek Chisora said I could do this if I am ready to D-I-E. And look, this is about boxing. I am used to knocking guys out. Last time, I hurt the man and I got caught coming in. I gave that man his credit. There was no excuses. I respect Andy and his family and his trainers so much. I just wanted to put on a great boxing masterclass and also show the sweet science of this lovely sport. It’s about hitting and not getting hit.”
 
On any mental changes: “Never a change in mentality. You know the saying, ‘Stay hungry, stay humble.’ I have stayed hungry and I have stayed humble. I am humble in defeat and I will remain humble in victory. Thank you again to Andy Ruiz and his family, to Saudi Arabia and all of the traveling fans, all of my supporters.”
 
On handling Andy Ruiz’s pressure: “It’s all about preparation. Like I said, one day when I release a book I will walk through my career’s experience. It’s just about creating great memories. I took my L and I bounced back. Life is a rollercoaster. I heard some people say that we should retire if we lose. Hey Andy, are you ready to retire? (Andy: ‘No way, let’s go again.’) Exactly, we are warriors.” 
 
On a third fight: “Without a doubt. If you heard, we are going to do a third. He beat me fair and square the first time and I beat him fair and square the second time. So we will do it again. 100%.”
 
On where this win ranks in his career: “I just want to say I have the utmost respect for Andy Ruiz who beat me fair and square in the first exam. I failed the first time, but I came back and studied hard and passed this time. But this ranks second. The first would be my fight against Wladimir Klitschko. It means so much to me and I learned so much from that fight. I respect Wladimir so much and he gives me so much advice still. This fight ranks number two though.”
 
On being disciplined in this fight: “I know that my fans like to see me knock people out and I can do that but sometimes with certain fighters you have to box smarter.”
 
On fighting Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury: “What can I say? I have been speaking about these guys a long time. You see this time, when I had the opportunity to just focus solely on Andy,  my head is in the right place. When Wilder, Fury, Ortiz and Usyk are really ready, they will make the call. Until then, I respect them. I won’t continue to call them out. I am making my own lane and if they want to be a part of that, they will call. Ruiz did it and created a legacy. If those guys want to do it, they can create a legacy too. Look at all I have done, come on. When I call them out and do all of that, I lose focus.”

Andy Ruiz Jr
 
On his performance: “It was his night. I don’t think I prepared as good as I should have. I gained too much weight but I don’t want to give no excuses. He won, he boxed me around but if we do the third, best believe I will come in the best shape of my life.”
 
On his higher weight being an issue: “It kind of affected me a lot. I thought I would come in stronger and better. But you know what, next time I am going to prepare better with my team. This time I tried to train myself at times to get prepared but no excuses. Anthony Joshua did a hell of a job. Thanks to everyone in Saudi Arabia who supported.” 
 
On pressuring AJ: “I think I was chasing him too much instead of cutting off the ring. I just felt like I couldn’t throw my combinations. But who wants to see this third fight?”
 
Eddie Hearn
 
On what’s next: “We are going to celebrate. Anthony Joshua is an amazing ambassador for the sport. He has given everything to this sport. Tonight, in Saudi Arabia, he becomes the two-time Heavyweight Champion of the World and that is beautiful.
 
On his performance: “It was an absolute masterclass. He was able to stay disciplined. People have doubted his boxing ability, his endurance. He was humiliated at Madison Square Garden. It was the American coming out party and it was ruined. He could have brushed himself down and went off. Instead he came back and put on that performance and it was beautiful. That’s the sweet science. That was like Picasso on a canvas, paining a masterpiece.”
 
On Anthony’s comeback: “They wrote him off. They said he was all hype. He had to come back from humiliation at Madison Square Garden. Tonight, he is the governor. The governor of the division.”
 
On fighting in Saudi Arabia: “We got criticized for coming here but these people have been amazing. The vision they have for boxing in this region is incredible and they delivered.
 
On AJ becoming undisputed Heavyweight champion: “Tonight is about becoming the two-time Heavyweight Champion of the World. We can talk about that later. We’ve wanted the undisputed for years and years. We will do what Anthony wants to do and he’s always wanted to be undisputed. People listen to rubbish that he doesn’t want it and you know what, we won’t give them this. We aren’t even going to give them the airtime. He is the king. They wrote him off and said he all hype but look, he’s back. He is the king again. He is the one who continues to step up – Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder’s resume don’t even stack up. They world stopped to watch Anthony Joshua become the two-time World Heavyweight Champion today and it was all live on DAZN, baby.”
 
On fighting Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury: “Anthony has been chasing them for years. Those fights will happen. Maybe they were right to walk away from those fights back then because the fight is worth much more now. AJ wants the legacy. He created that legacy tonight in Saudi Arabia. He sells out arenas around the world. He is transforming boxing. These other guys can’t lace his boots! He is only 24 fights in and he is only going to get better.”

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RUIZ VS. JOSHUA 2 WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua weigh in ahead of their IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight championships fight tomorrow night in Saudi Arabia. 6th December 2019. Picture By Dave Thompson

All times are local

17:00 DOORS 
18:30 FIRST BELL

 
4 x 3 mins Lightweight contest
MAJID AL NAQBI 9st 7lbs v ILIA BERUASHVILI 8st 12lbs
(UAE)                                       (Georgia)
 
19:00 WORLD FEED ON AIR

8 x 3 mins WBC Middle East Lightweight Title 
ZUHAYR AL QAHTANI 9st 8lbs v OMAR DUSARY 9st 3lbs
(Saudi Arabia)                                (Kuwait)
 
20:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS BOX OFFICE AND DAZN 

8 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
MAHAMMADRASUL MAJIDOV 16st 7lbs v TOM LITTLE 17st 13lbs
(Azerbaijan)                                                 (England)
 
12 x 3 mins WBC International Heavyweight Title
FILIP HRGOVIC 17st 3lbs v ERIC MOLINA 17st 10lbs
(Croatia)                                (USA)
 
10 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
DILLIAN WHYTE 19st 5lbs v MARIUSZ WACH 19st 4lbs
(England)                                (Poland)
 
12 x 3 mins WBA Heavyweight World Title Eliminator
ALEXANDER POVETKIN 16st 5lbs v MICHAEL HUNTER 16st 2lbs
(Russia)                                                (USA)                               
 
23:45 MAIN EVENT RING WALKS START

12 x 3 mins WBA, IBF, WBO & IBO Heavyweight WORLD TITLES
ANDY RUIZ JR 20st 3lbs v ANTHONY JOSHUA 16st 13lbs
(Mexico)                               (England)
 
FLOATS

4 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight contest
HOPEY PRICE 8st 13lbs v SWEDI MOHAMED 8st 13lbs
(England)                            (Tanzania)
 
4 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest 
DIEGO PACHECO 11st 13lbs v SELEMANI SAIDI 11st 12lbs
(USA)                                           (Tanzania)

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RUIZ VS. JOSHUA 2 FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Andy Ruiz, current unified Heavyweight World Champion:
 
On importance of keeping the belts: “It’s been a long three months of camp. I’ve been training really hard for this fight. Like June 1, I made history, and I think the importance is to remake history on Dec. 7 in Saudi Arabia. Not much to say, but I’m ready to rock androll, I know AJ is going to come in with a different game plan. I know he’s prepared, motivated, being more cautious – I know he’s going to try and box me around. My job is to prepare for whatever comes my way.”
 
On if the motivation is still there: “Of course, I don’t want these beautiful belts to go away. Remember I’ve been doing this since I was six, it’s finally paying off, and no way I’m going let these belts go. I’m going to die trying, and do anything that’s possible to get that victory. It’s been a long journey, long roller coaster in my life, and no way I’m going to let these go Dec. 7. Let the best man win.”
 
Anthony Joshua OBE, former unified Heavyweight World Champion
 
On this being a great opportunity: “It’s interesting to be on this side of the table, as you said in my 16th fight, I challenged for the world title, challenged for the title again with Klitschko, then Parker, and now I’m challenging again, so this is my fourth title challenge in a short space of time. I’m used to being in this position, and even when you’re champion, I think Andy being a respected heavyweight he knows you have to have the challenge and mindset. All these quotes that these fighters come up with is reality, challenger mindset. I’ve said that previously when I had the belts around my waist. Now I’m speaking this into existence, this is my challenge and mindset. So I’m going back to my 16th fight, focused and determined on the goal.”
 
On feeling less pressure without the belts: “I’ve been boxing a while now, and when I came into boxing I didn’t really come to take part, I came to take over. I came with full force, fully committed. The focus has already been there, but never had a chance to reflect. It was European Championships, Olympics Championships, British Title, World Championships. I’m not here to put on show I’m here to win. I’ve been around the block for a short space of time, so you have to understand I’m experienced and know what I’m doing. Through reflection in my own time, me and Andy are very different, but like everyone in this room we have time. I just have to use my time and as soon as I got back from New York I got that commitment back, got into shape, I didn’t lose any heart, didn’t lose any fire in my belly, started hitting the heavy bag, preparing for this day. I’m actually really looking forward to it. No fear in my heart, no fear in my eyes. I’m just looking forward to putting on a show, and I’m confident.”
 
On how special a win will be: “I was asked if this will be a special moment and I said no because I know I belong there. It’s not special, I’ve been there, I know what I’m doing. When I regain those belts I will probably keep calm and stay focused. It’s not a time to celebrate, it’s time to keep that challenge, mindset and find the next target, so one by one I’m picking them off. I’ve been doing that since I started boxing and Ruiz is just my next target on my list.”
 
On fighting in Saudi Arabia: “This the Mecca of boxing I’m hearing. The real Mecca of boxing. I’m going to turn this into something special, a real event. As you can see we have put together a great undercard and a great show. I went to the venue, its perfect, perfectly designed, said my prayers, I took time to really embrace what’s going to happen Saturday. I’m just going in with confidence, and I want everyone to have that same confidence and have a great time.” 
 
Manny Robles, Andy Ruiz’s trainer:
 
On defending belts: “It’s been three months of preparation which is something we didn’t have for the last fight. I’m very pleased to say we had a great camp, perfect sparring partners, perfect time, perfect time to prepare to come up with a better game plan. Understand we have a very difficult task in front of us. We respect him, and we know he’s a great fighter. We’re going to be ready for the task. Andy has a had a great camp, and mentally and physically prepared for the challenge. We look forward to it. I hope no one walks away disappointed Saturday night.”
 
On being a different fight this time around: “Absolutely it will be a different fight. We worked hard, we’re ready for the challenge. We’re taking this fight very seriously, we’ve been very tough on him, Andy knows it. He’s been focused, ready to go every day. We’re up to the challenge.”
 
Robert McCracken MBE, Anthony Joshua’s trainer:
 
On mindset going into this fight: “Anthony is in a much better place than last time at this stage, and I’m much happier with where he’s at. Everybody has said his training camp has gone really well. We’ve been training well out here in Saudi. Anthony has been training at the British Embassy, he’s got his own facility, and able to train diligently and hard. Listen we know how good Ruiz is, we know he’s a top heavyweight fighter, and he’s the champion. We’re totally confident, completely different mood going into this fight than back in New York. And I think you will see the real AJ for sure.”
 
On having more time to train: “For Andy Ruiz we had about five week notice for the last fight, at the same time Anthony’s opponent pulled out, so we had to restructure and change things, but with Ruiz’s ability that isn’t easy to do, but that isn’t a excuse. The right man won on the night, they both had 12 weeks to prepare for this fight, I think it’s a level playing field now. I think Anthony knows exactly what is in front of him, the sparring partners have been tailored to suit what Andy does. I think it you will see the real AJ on Saturday night and see a great performance.”
 
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director:
 
“We talked about our friend Neil Leifer who is here with us in Riyadh. Neil was on the canvas taking photos for the “Thrilla in Manila” and the “Rumble in Jungle” and on Saturday, he will be there for “Clash On The Dunes.” It will be another historic night for the sport of boxing and a heavyweight that will go down as one of the biggest ever. Andy Ruiz shocked the world in New York in June and now they enter this fight totally differently – Ruiz is the champion and Anthony Joshua is the challenger. This fight has everything.
 
“We were very close to going to Cardiff, and very close to taking this rematch back to Madison Square Garden in New York. We even looked at Mexico. I had finally made the decision to keep the fight in the UK but then I got the call from Saudi. I think I was quite rude at first actually, I told them not to waste their time because we were taking the fight to Cardiff. But the passion they had to bring this fight to Saudi Arabia was unmatched and within four or five days, we have an agreement to stage this fight here. Sometimes there was shock and criticism, but this was an absolutely wonderful decision. The hospitality from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been incredible. The fighters have had an amazing experience here with first class facilities being specifically built for them to prepare. The is a new dawn for the sport of boxing.
 
“We are thankful for our friends at DAZN. Just one year in, they have completely changed the face of boxing in America. Look at the names they have already brought to their wonderful platform: Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz, Oleksandr Usyk, Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin, and the list goes on and on. It is a wonderful time to be involved with the DAZN business and there’s such a bright future ahead for them.”

Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing:

“There has been some magical and memorable nights of boxing on Sky watching so many greats. We then embarked on the journey with Anthony Joshua since he won his gold medal in London and he has been such a great ambassador for the sport.

“What a fight we had back in June and now how we love a rematch. This will be the biggest night for us of the year and we will make sure this dazzles in a wonderful new arena.

“What happens who knows! You cannot pick a winner.”

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CLASH ON THE DUNES PUBLIC WORKOUT

Anthony Joshua Open workout in Saudi Arabia ahead of his fight this Weekend. 3rd December 2019. Picture By Dave Thompson.
Fight week continues in Saudi Arabia ahead of Ruiz vs. Joshua 2
Ahead of thehighly-anticipated rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua this Saturday December 7, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US, all fighters from the stacked card worked out in front a lively crowd in Riyadh this evening. In June, Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs) spoiled the U.S. debut of then-undefeated Heavyweight kingpin Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), leaving New York as the unified IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO World Heavyweight Champion. The upset is considered one of the largest upsets in Heavyweight boxing history, drawing comparisons to other historic heavyweight upsets such as Buster Douglas’ shocking victory over Mike Tyson and Hasim Rahman’s knockout win over Lennox Lewis.
IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Open workout in Saudi Arabia ahead of his fight this Weekend. 3rd December 2019. Picture By Mark Robinson.

Andy Ruiz Jr interview:

On fans loving him in Saudi Arabia: “It’s not going to be first or my last timing fighting here. They will see a lot more of Andy Ruiz here in Saudi Arabia.”

On keeping the same hand speed: “No, I didn’t want show off too much on what we’re working on. I wanted to give a little mix there. We’ve been training really heard, working on different stuff, so the speed, the pressure, the angles, everything we’ve been working on, hopefully December 7 we will get that victory.”

On what he has does differently this time around: “The same thing, training, making some adjustments, but we got all the tools, all the same things, so we’re focused mentally and ready for December 7.”

On having a psychological advantage: “I could but I don’t want to underestimate any fighter because I respect every fighter that comes into the ring. We all risk our lives here to provide for our loved ones, so I’m just excited for Saturday to have a really good fight.”

On confidence getting another KO: “I’ll never predict a KO, but if it comes it comes, I’m just prepared to win and use all the tools I have and take advantage of being here.” 

On being proud of bringing the belts to Saudi Arabia: “I’m really proud. I’ve been working really hard my entire life to become the first Mexican Heavyweight Champion of the World. I came a long way, been through a lot of obstacles in my life. I just thank God, and I’m really excited to be here. Everybody please tune-in December 7 this Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Get your app. Check out the channel on DAZN. Let’s do it baby, we’re going make history again!”

Anthony Joshua Open workout in Saudi Arabia ahead of his fight this Weekend. 3rd December 2019. Picture By Mark Robinson.

Anthony Joshua interview:

On his preparations: “It’s been about being confident, about knowing my capabilities. I’ve had a great training camp, I am well prepared, and ready to showcase my skills.”

On what change we will see Saturday night: “I’m forever changing, that’s what training camp is about, evolution, like night and day. I shed the skin from last time, re-built myself, and all I’m doing is going to win, that’s what I’m focused on.”

On looking to have more speed in this fight: “I’m quick anyway. I’m not looking for anything except the win, that’s the objective. It’s about speed, it’s not about nothing else, the objective is just to win, win, win.” 

On how much Andy Ruiz had been on his mind since the first fight: “He’s been on my mind five weeks prior to June 1 because that’s when he came in as my replacement, and he will be on my mind forever. If Andy Ruiz is dedicated to the game we will see each other a third time down the line as well. This won’t be the last time I see Andy Ruiz in the ring.”

On a third match with Andy Ruiz: “Yes because I think we make for good fights. I think there will definitely be a knockout, and people want to see bloodshed and a knockout. I think we will see each other a third time.” 

On getting the victory: “If God calls it that’s what’s going to happen. I feel it in my heart, and believe in myself, so yeah I’ll be victorious. Shout out to all of my sparring partners for preparing me. You are going to see fireworks on Saturday. This is an important fight and like I said, this fight isn’t going 12 rounds.”  

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RUIZ VS. JOSHUA 2 TICKETS ON SALE TODAY!

The first Heavyweight World Title fight in the Middle East, Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua 2, will take place in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Diriyah New tourism visas launched by the Kingdom mean it has never been easier for boxing fans to flock to the fight to support their heroes as the countdown to tickets going on sale begins
Boxing fans from around the world can flock to the biggest fight of the year – the Clash on the Dunes in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia – to support their heroes Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua after the Kingdom launched new super-fast tourist visas.

On December 7, in the UNESCO heritage site of Diriyah – known as the land of kings and heroes – Anthony ‘AJ’ Joshua will attempt to recapture belts taken from him by Andy ‘Destroyer’ Ruiz Jr in Diriyah Arena, a purpose-built arena for 15,000 fans on the night.

Tickets for this incredible showdown go on sale this Sunday, October 13, at 9pm KSA time (10pm in UAE, 7pm in the UK and 2pm US) and are available at www.diriyahseason.sa.

It will be the first-ever World Heavyweight Title fight ever to be staged in the Middle East and forms part of the month-long ‘Diriyah Season’, a spectacular season of world-class sport, global entertainment, and culture,  officially launched on Sunday night at a glittering ceremony in the ancient city, the birthplace of modern Saudi Arabia on the outskirts of Riyadh.

This follows the announcement in recent days that travelers from 49 countries across the world can now secure 90 day tourist visas online in just seven minutes to attend the festival. For more information got to visa.visitsaudi.com.

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said: “This is the biggest boxing match on the planet, and it will be taking place in one of the most unique venues ever.

“We already know there is a great passion for boxing in the Kingdom, but AJ and Andy will want their fans to come and support them, from across the region and from the UK and the US and Mexico.

“It’s great news that these tourism visas have been launched, that’s a big step forward for the country and it means that boxing fans wherever they are can come witness an unmissable night. This fight will go down in history as one of the greats.”

Due to the unique venue, being staged outside of the UK or the US, the fight has already seen parallels drawn in the media to some of the most iconic fights in history, such as Muhammad Ali’s fights against George Foreman – “the Rumble in the Jungle” – and Joe Frazier – the “Thrilla in Manila”.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Chairman of the GSA, said: “We have already seen the energy created by boxing when we staged the World Boxing Super Series match last year, this landmark moment – the first World Heavyweight Title fight in the Middle East – now takes that excitement to a whole new level.

“Athletes and audiences can expect to be knocked out by the passionate reception this event will enjoy in the Kingdom, and now, with the launch of tourism visas for 49 countries, it has never been easier for fans from around the world to come be part of history.”

HH Prince Khaled bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Chairman of SCEE, said: “This is a historic moment for Saudi Arabia welcoming the first World Heavyweight Championship. As a nation we have started to pave the way for becoming a global player in the sports and entertainment industry and we have witnessed a real appetite for the boxing sport.

“This is the biggest boxing fight that has taken place in the region to date and we are bringing it to Saudi Arabia on December 7 – the world is watching us and we promise to deliver an unparalleled experience. SCEE are a proud partner of the GSA bringing Clash on the Dunes to Diriyah Season, 2019.”

Tickets for all of Diriyah Season’s spectacular events and entertainment will be available online at www.diriyahseason.sa with Formula E Tickets on sale now, Clash On the Dunes tickets on October 13, and Diriyah Tennis Cup on October 26. Tickets for other events as well as season long tickets will be announced soon. Follow Diriyah Season’s news and announcements on the official social media pages on twitter and Instagram @diriyahseason.
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RUIZ JR VS. JOSHUA 2 SAUDI ARABIA PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki AlFaisal Al Saud, Chairman of the GSA:

“I want to start with welcoming everyone to Saudi Arabia, especially to Diriyah. I Would like to welcome the fighters here and I wish them luck. Firstly, boxing is one of our growing sports in the Kingdom, we have had events in the past and international events which started with Formula E, WWE, the Italian Super-Cup final and other events in the Kingdom. They all fall under the 2030 vision guided by the custodian of the two holy mosques, his majesty King Salman and the Crown Prince Hamed Salman. The direction of Saudi Arabia is to enhance sport because sport is good for everyone. We are not just focusing on one sport we are focusing on many sports and maybe that Is reflected on the number of events that we have hosted.

“We are very lucky that we have managed to host this fight in Saudi and in Diriyah, which is a very special place for all of us. We also want to reflect to the world what Saudi Arabia is and hopefully everyone can come and enjoy this fight in one of our special places in the Kingdom. I think everyone is already excited outside and inside the Kingdom. We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone, anyone who wants to come to Saudi and watch this fight is more than welcome to come. Sports reaches everyone, and I think it is fundamental in the ‘2030 Vision’ and one of the key visions in the 2030 vision is to promote and grow sports within the Kingdom. We are not just hosting fights, we are increasing the interest in the Kingdom. We have seen the interest in sports have grown drastically in the last few years and we want to give this opportunity to Saudi citizens who can come and watch this fight.

“This is the start of something exciting and everybody has been excited in the Kingdom since this fight was first announced. Everybody is looking forward to getting tickets and I think it will boost the interest in boxing in general. Lots of gyms and venues are opening up. Boxing is an old sport but is relatively new for Saudi Arabia. That is something that we would like to enhance from these events, to open up the interest in boxing in the Kingdom but also to have a long lasting plan to really encourage the youth in getting into boxing.

“I think that everyone who is coming to watch this fight is going to experience something that they haven’t experienced anywhere else in the world, that is our aim. In October we will announce all the details and how people can purchase tickets. We will have an easy system that anyone can apply to and anyone can apply for a VISA and come to Saudi and watch this fight. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone.”

Eddie Hearn, Managing Director, Matchroom Boxing:

“Thanks Ravi and thank you to the whole panel and of course everybody who made this event possible. The GSA, Prince Abdulaziz thank you, Skills Challenge Entertainment, Omar and the team and an huge thank you to Prince Khalid who plagued me and didn’t let this go to bring this fight here, we were so close and looking at almost a dozen other venues that were knocking at our door for this World Heavyweight Championship, the biggest fight in boxing today. Prince Khalid saw the vision, the love and passion for the sport and would not stop calling me. He would not stop trying to bring this event to Saudi Arabia. 

“I have to tell you, sitting here now and having just watched that incredible show and having been a fight fan for 30 years, I felt a bit emotional. This is such a monumental occasion for our sport which is sometimes very narrow minded – there’s Las Vegas, there’s New York, there’s London – no. There is a whole world out there and now there is Saudi Arabia for boxing. This is such a monumental opportunity for our sport and you’re not just bringing a fight to the Kingdom, you are bringing the biggest fight in world boxing, the biggest prize in boxing – the World Heavyweight Championship. 

“This is not a one off fight, this is a rematch for one of the fights of the year. Back on June 1 at the sold out Madison Square Garden we witnessed one of the greatest Heavyweight upsets of all time. Andy Ruiz may not feel it was an upset but it did go down in history that way, it was an incredible fight with both men on the canvas as Andy Ruiz beat Anthony Joshua to become the Unified World Heavyweight Champion.

“On December 7 in Diriyah we do it all again, for your entertainment in a purpose built, open air arena with 16,000 people. We love what you are doing here for sport and we love Formula E, we love the European Tour and I think that WWE is great, but there is nothing like the sport of boxing. You will witness an event that will go down in history – some people will be looking from the outside in and say this is a strange destination but they also said that with ‘The Rumble in The Jungle’ and ‘The Thriller in Manilla’, and this as an event will go down in history just like those iconic moments in our sport.

“I want to thank everybody for bringing this fight here and I want to thank the fighters – for those who know or those who are new to the sport of boxing know that these guys who are the gladiators. They are the guys who get in the ring and fight for these belts, for their legacy and for your entertainment. These are the guys that deserve so much respect. This is not just about bringing a major fight to Saudi Arabia, this is about the potential to grow the sport of boxing here. One of the reasons that we’re even here is because of Prince Khalid’s vision to grow the sport here. We’re already in the talks about academy’s and about grass-roots boxing, this is how you grow the sport of boxing. Trust me, the people of Saudi Arabia once they see this event and touch and taste the sport of boxing, they will be addicted. This will be a monumental occasion for this sport. The world will stand still to witness history in Saudi Arabia. Ticket details will be released in due course.”

Andy Ruiz Sr:

“First of all I want to thank all the people from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I felt so proud of my son when he won the fight – it was a dream that we had when he was six years old. I believe that dreams come true, I have been working for this and thinking who was going to be champion of the world. I had a dream I was going to have my Mexican Rocky and then it came true so I feel so happy and thankful to Eddie Hearn for this opportunity.”

Robert McCracken MBE, trainer of Anthony Joshua:

“This is Heavyweight boxing, we’ve seen it time and time again. Andy is a very good fighter and is the World Heavyweight Champion and Anthony is now challenging – it’s turned completely on its head. AJ is driven and determined to get those titles back so it’s going to be exciting and interesting to see. It is going to be challenging for both fighters but I think it will be a challenge they will look forward to, certainly Anthony is looking forward to it, he’s excited already. It’s December so it will be a little bit cooler which should suit both fighters and it will certainly suit Anthony and he will be prepared. He will be in tip-top shape and he knows that Ruiz is a tremendous champion, but he is a tremendous challenger and he’s aiming to win those belts back on December 7.”

Manny Robles, trainer of Andy Ruiz Jr:

“First of all thank you to everyone, the media and the country of Saudi Arabia for having us here in the city of Diriyah. This is an incredible country with very nice people and thank you for the warm welcome. It’s time to turn the page, dreams do come true but now it is a reality and it’s time to go to work. I can promise everybody and the fans here and across the world that Andy will be ready – he will be ready for the challenge. We respect Anthony Joshua and his team, he is a great fighter and we know that he is going to bring it, so that is the reason why we need to be at our best come December 7. It’s part two, it’s a continuation of part one. Both fighters know each other and know what to expect from one another so there will be changes. We will have more time to prepare this time around and we have begun our preparation – there will be some changes and you can expect a better, faster, leaner and stronger Andy Ruiz than we saw the first time around.”

Anthony Joshua OBE:

“Thank you all for your hospitality, to the people and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I never thought that I would be fighting outside of London or America so it is a blessing and I am humbled to be here. With the fight, I feel that I was up against a good challenger at the time and I was only champion until June 1, as Andy is champion now, that will last until December 7 when he has to put his titles in the air and two warriors will go to war and the best man will walk out victorious. I am really looking forward to the challenge and I am glad the people here are supporting boxing. Some may support me, others may support Andy, but at the end of the day we are going to have a really good night of boxing and that is what we are all here for.

“My parents and their heritage is from Nigeria and I was born in England. I started boxing when I moved to London and my cousin was training. I was only doing it as a mindset thing. I needed to change my mindset when I was younger, I was getting in some sorts of trouble and I wasn’t really focused on my education as such. Being around the older generation and the wise generation they gave me advice and a lot of game that I could use on my day to day life and I started thinking as an individual. In three years from being a novice in the gym I was competing at the Olympics and by that point I had been to so many countries around the world representing Great Britain.

“I turned professional and based myself in England where I won the gold medal and I have been competing out of Great Britain ever since until I went to America when I lost my titles. I should say ‘the’ titles because I believe that being a champion is more than just having belts which I have always said, being a champion has responsibilities and it’s about having a championship mindset. The belts will go in the air and we will fight for them again and this time around it’s not London, it’s not America, it is Saudi Arabia.”

Andy Ruiz Jr:

“I’m really happy to be here and I thank everybody. On June 1 I made my dreams come true with a lot of sacrifice, blood and tears. I just believed in myself and I think I am here for a purpose and I just want to tell everybody that if they have a dream they’ve got to follow through with it and everything is possible.

On December 7 I know that Anthony Joshua is going to come hard, he’s going to come strong and will be preparing really well but so am I. I’m really hungery, a lot of people have been saying that I’m not training or taking it seriously but come on I have all these belts and there is responsibilities to this. I am going to try my best and I’m going to keep these belts and take them back to Mexico. On December 7 I am going to make history again and win here in the same fashion and the same way that I won on June 1 and I am going to prove everybody wrong.

“The hunger still remains, I don’t want 15 minutes of fame I want this to last for a generation. I want to be a champion for many years and I have a good fighter next to me who is going to try and take these belts but god is with me and we’re going to be training really hard for December 7. 

“I expect a tougher test this time round, he is more hungry and wants his belts back but that is what is motivating me and making me more hungry. I want to train harder because I know he is, I only had a month, month and a half, to train for the first fight but this time we have a whole camp so it benefits me. It is going to be an exciting fight, a hell of a fight – two big Heavyweights punching each other in the face – tune in December 7, it’s going to be a hell of a fight.”

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JOSHUA VS. RUIZ JR WEIGHTS, RUNNING ORDER AND IMAGES

May 31, 2019; New York, NY; IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz pose after weighing in for their fight on Saturday’s Matchroom Boxing card at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing UK
Heavyweight sensation makes US debut at Madison Square Garden
DOORS 16:30
 
BOXING STARTS 16:45

8 x 3 mins Super-Welterweight contest
SOULEYMANE CISSOKHO 156.8 lbs v WLADIMIR HERNANDEZ 162 lbs
(Bagnolet, France)                                  (Denver, Colorado)       

17:00 EASTERN: LIVE ON SKY SPORTS BOX OFFICE

17:30 EASTERN: LIVE ON DAZN 

 
12 x 3 mins WBO International Super-Lightweight title
CHRIS ALGIERI 139.8 lbs v TOMMY COYLE 139.6 lbs
(New York, USA)                   (Hull, England)

10 x 3 mins WBA International Light-Heavyweight title
JOSHUA BUATSI 174 lbs v MARCO ANOTINIO PERIBAN 172 lbs
(Croydon, England)            (Mexico City, Mexico)            
 
10 x 3 mins WBA International Welterweight title
JOSH KELLY 146.4 lbs v RAY ROBINSON 146 lbs

(Sunderland, England)    (Philadelphia, USA)
 
10 x 3 mins IBF, WBC, WBO, WBA, Ring Magazine Women’s Lightweight World Championships
KATIE TAYLOR 134.6 lbs v DELFINE PERSOON 130.6 lbs
(Bray, Ireland)                      (Roeselare, Belgium)
 
12 x 3 mins WBA ‘Super’ World, WBC Diamond, Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles
CALLUM SMITH 167.6 lbs v HASSAN N’DAM 166 lbs

(Liverpool, England)            (Monte Carlo, Monaco)
 
12 x 3 mins WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Championships
ANTHONY JOSHUA 247.8 lbs v ANDY RUIZ JR 268 lbs
(Watford, England)                     (California, USA)

FLOATS:

4 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
AUSTIN WILLIAMS 159.4 lbs v QUADEER JENKINS 161.6 lbs
(Texas, USA)                              (Trenton, USA)        

4 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
DIEGO PACHECO 164.2 lbs v JARED CHAUVIN 163 lbs
(Los Angeles, USA)                 (Macomb, USA)        
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JOSHUA VS. RUIZ JR MAIN EVENT PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director:

“I think sometimes as a team or promoter you have to pinch with yourself whenever you’re at Madison Square Garden, we have been lucky enough to stage two world championship events at the Theatre, but Matchroom Boxing will make our debut at Madison Square Garden as a promotional company and to do it for the unified Heavyweight championship in an absolute honour, and to do it while representing the Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua is an honour as well.
 
“This week has been incredible, and part of the development of Anthony Joshua the fighter and the brand is to take him worldwide and keep growing the incredible profile around the world. 
 
“We were here a few months ago, what feels like yesterday, when another heavyweight decided to shove Anthony Joshua on the stage in front of you. He talked the talked, but couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t bring himself to try genuinely and honestly fight the unified heavyweight champion of the world.  Once the three positive drug test came in we searched for a new opponent, there wasn’t any instructions, it was whoever we wanted. Someone sent me a direct message, I’m fighting on Saturday, give me this fight, I’ll fight harder than any other person mentioned and I will give you a better fight and beat Anthony Joshua. We saw him beat Alexander Dimitrenko, discussions continued, and we knew the deal was important, and had a burning desire to become the first Mexican Heavyweight champion. We respect Andy for stepping up and taking this fight and we know we’re in for a hell of a fight on Saturday night.”

Joseph Markowski, DAZN EVP, North America:

“Thanks to the media in attendance today. Many of you have traveled thousands of miles to be here and I think that speaks to the significance of Saturday’s event. Thanks too to Joel Fischer and his team here at the Garden for their hospitality. Great partners as always. This is the first event in a 3-week DAZN residency at MSG – we’ll be giving Billy Joel a run for his money at this rate.   
 
“AJ was there for DAZN at the beginning of our American journey and now we’re proud to be here for his – as the exclusive broadcaster of his fight against a highly motivated Andy Ruiz. Not just in the U.S. but in all 9 DAZN markets across four continents.   
 
“Since AJ debuted on DAZN in September, a lot has changed within boxing. We now have six of the pound-for-pound top 10 boxers in the world on DAZN – many of whom are also the biggest draws in the sport like Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin and, of course, Anthony Joshua.  
 
“We’ve also featured some of the sport’s top women – Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano and Claressa Shields – as well as its hottest young prospects like Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia.
 
“At a time when many are focused on how the boxing landscape is fractured, we’re working with a growing number of promoters to cut through the noise and deliver the best fights for fans. Matchroom, Golden Boy, GGG Promotions, the World Boxing Super Series are all on DAZN. It’s the best boxing schedule of any platform and without doubt the best value.  
 
“But we’re not done. We’re hard at work, planning the rest of 2019 to make sure we continue to overdeliver for our subscribers.” 

Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing:

“Thanks Eddie. There has been ups and downs over the 30 years Sky have been committed to boxing but I think it all changed in 2012 when this man struck Olympic gold in London. Eddie become our exclusive partner at Matchroom, we have a fantastic relationship with them. When AJ signed with us and with Matchroom in 2013 it began a new venture. We had the likes of Ricky Hatton, Lennox Lewis, Joe Calzaghe, David Haye, Carl Froch, so many others over the years. Anthony brings something different to the table, he brings huge charisma, really likability and a terrific talent inside the ring as well. A man that can sellout 90,000 at Wembley. It’s a pleasure being with him on this ride alongside his excellent team. Bring on Saturday night, there’s nothing like a fight in the Garden!”

Anthony Joshua OBE – Watford, England – 22-0, 21 KOs – defending his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World titles against Andy Ruiz Jr:

“The sport is tough no doubt about it, but dedication, focus, and purpose gives me reason to return to the gym each time. I won this title in my 16th fight, I think when I was about three years into being a professional, and I wanted to take these challenges. Without overlooking Andy or his team at all, Andy knows what it’s like to be a fighter. When you have this opportunity in front of you and know what can come after, we naturally look past, so when I was fighting for that title, I was always looking for the next challenge, hoping to get to the next one.
 
“Fighting Andy for me is just as dangerous as fighting Wilder or Fury because they both possess their own skills, so I have to take Andy deadly serious. I don’t overlook him at all, I respect him and respect his team, and I really respect he put his name on the dotted line to take this challenge. No challenge is easy, no matter what the bookers are telling you or the odd makers. Andy is going to come in here and give me a real good fight and cause problems, and it’s down to me as a champion to think smart, box clever, out box, out strength, and out muscle Andy Ruiz to get that win.  
 
“No fight like after the fight when your hands are raised, your opponent has been defeated and thinking about being on a beach, or being with your family, and focus on the next challenge ahead. Right now I’m only champion till June 1 when I have to defend my titles. I’m currently the heavyweight champion of the world, but June 1 I put them in the air and they’re up for grabs. Let the best man win.”

Robert McCracken MBE, trainer of Anthony Joshua OBE:

“I’ll keep it short and sweet. Ruiz Jr was the best available contender when Jarrell Miller failed his drugs tests. Ruiz for me was the toughest challenge at that stage, we needed somebody that was going to motivate Anthony. There was a couple of names floated around that I don’t think would have motivated him and the camp would have become hard. AJ recognises him as a quality fighter. Technically he is sounds. He has a good coach. He was very close in the Parker fight. He is a world level fighter and a serious contender and that’s what Anthony Joshua is about. He wants to fight the best out there. Right now Andy Ruiz is the best out there for this date, that’s the challenge. 

“Josh is ready. We went to Miami, it was fantastic. We worked really hard, four weeks we kept him locked up. We feel AJ is a deserving champion and will produce a fantastic performance in a great fight and will continue on and unify the division.”Andy Ruiz Jr – California, USA – 32-1, 21 KOs – challenging Anthony Joshua OBE for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World titles:

“I’ve been waiting for this all my life, I’ve been training so hard since my last fight against Alexander Dimitrenko. This came at a perfect time to fight Anthony Joshua. Those belts look really shiny, look really good! I’m ready, I’m ready for June 1, I’m ready to become the first Mexican Heavyweight champion of the world. Ready to bring those belts back to Mexico, although they have never been to Mexico, but they will be on June 1. I have nothing bad to say about Anthony Joshua, he’s a champion, I’m a fan of him, I respect him, but inside the ring there won’t be any respect, no friends, and no fans. I’ll I can say is tune-in on June 1, it’s going to be a hell of fight, I’m going to give it all I got, and we’re going to win this for Mexico!”

Manny Robles, trainer of Andy Ruiz Jr:

“Thank you Eddie. Thank you to the entire press that is here today. I don’t have too much to say. Ruiz is ready, he is ready for the challenge. We had a great camp. People think this was a short camp but in reality it wasn’t. We’ve been in the gym for pretty much 15 weeks and we had a tune-up fight in-between. Thank you to Anthony Joshua for giving us a chance. We’re going to give you a run for your money that’s for sure. We’re here to take that title, Viva Mexico!”

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BBC RADIO 5 LIVE LAND EXCLUSIVE RADIO COMMENTARY RIGHTS TO JOSHUA VS. RUIZ JR.

BBC RADIO 5 LIVE LAND EXCLUSIVE RADIO COMMENTARY RIGHTS TO JOSHUA VS. RUIZ JR.
Costello and Bunce to bring listeners blow-by-blow coverage of Heavyweight clash
BBC Radio 5 Live has secured exclusive radio commentary rights to Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr.
 
Unified World Heavyweight champion Joshua takes on Ruiz Jr. at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York this Saturday, 1 June, AJ’s first fight in the USA.
 
5 Live’s unrivalled team of boxing experts, commentator Mike Costello and analyser Steve Bunce, will bring listeners blow-by-blow coverage of the fight, with build-up starting from 2am.
 
Ahead of Joshua’s title fight, Katie Taylor continues to re-write the history books, with the chance to become the undisputed Lightweight World champion against Belgium’s Delphine Persoon. Then, Liverpool’s Callum Smith defends his WBA Super-Middleweight World title for the first time against Hassan N’Dam.
 
The 5 Live Boxing podcast will also include additional analysis and interviews.
 
Ben Gallop, head of BBC Radio and Digital Sport, said: “Anthony Joshua is one of the most iconic British sportsmen of his generation and his first fight in the USA is an event not to be missed. I’m delighted we’re able to bring our listeners exclusive commentary of the bout on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website following the conclusion of the all-English Champions League final, making for an unmissable night of sport on 5 Live this Saturday.” 
 
Matchroom Boxing Managing Director Eddie Hearn said: “I’m delighted that BBC Radio 5 Live have secured exclusive radio commentary rights to Anthony Joshua’s highly-anticipated US debut at the iconic Madison Square Garden against Mexico’s Andy Ruiz Jr. AJ has filled the national stadiums of England and Wales back home on four occasions and now the road to undisputed rumbles on in America as the 2012 Olympic hero puts his WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO crowns on the line against former World title challenger Ruiz Jr.”

Mike Costello said: “BBC 5 Live has been ringside for commentary on much of Anthony Joshua’s career, from his gold medal glory at the London 2012 Olympics through to one of the most unforgettable nights in British boxing history when he beat Vladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium. Now we move on to another iconic venue for Joshua’s American debut. There are hallowed arenas across all sports that bring an extra dimension to a commentator’s excitement and Madison Square Garden, especially for a World Heavyweight title fight, belongs high on the bucket list.”
 
Coverage of Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr begins from 2am the night of Saturday 1 June on BBC Radio 5 Live. Listen on BBC Sounds.
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EXCITING FIGHT WEEK SCHEDULE SET FOR AJ’S US DEBUT!

Heavyweight ruler hits the Big Apple to defend belts against Ruiz Jr.
Anthony Joshua OBE is ready to take over America – and Matchroom Boxing have set up an exciting fight week schedule for the US debut of the Heavyweight ruler, who defends his World titles against Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday June 1, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
 
Joshua wraps up his Miami training camp this weekend before heading to the Big Apple, and after a private welcome reception on Memorial Day on Monday,Joshua, Ruiz Jr and the undercard will perform a public workout at Brookfield Place from 11am ET on Tuesday in the Financial District, in the shadow of the Matchroom Boxing USA headquarters at One World Trade Center.
 
The stacked undercard takes center stage on Wednesday morning at the final press conference starting at 10.30am ET, and the main event press conference takes place at 1pm ET on Thursday afternoon as Joshua and Ruiz Jr go face-to-face for the first time.
 
Joshua’s weigh-ins are always spectacular occasions and the New York one promises to be just that, with doors for the weigh-in opening to fans and media on Friday from 2.30pm ET at Madison Square Garden and the undercard hitting the scales from 3.30pm ET with the main event weighing in at approximately 4pm.
 
FREE TICKETS to the weigh-in will be available to reserve from 10am ET on  Monday May 27 from this link: https://www.universe.com/events/anthony-joshua-vs-andy-ruiz-jr-weigh-in-tickets-new-york-6W84FY
 
DAZN, Sky Sports and Matchroom Boxing will capture every moment of fight week with the following coverage:

Monday – Welcome Party – clips on DAZN social media, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports.com and Sky Sports social media and Matchroom Boxing social media 
 
Tuesday – Public Workout – live on DAZN social media, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports.com and Sky Sports social media and Matchroom Boxing social media
 
Wednesday – Undercard Press Conference – live on DAZN app and social media, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports.com and Sky Sports social media and Matchroom Boxing social media
 
Thursday – Main Event Press Conference – live on DAZN app and social media, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports.com and Sky Sports social media and Matchroom Boxing social media
 
Friday – Weigh-in – live on DAZN app and social media, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports.com and Sky Sports social media and Matchroom Boxing social media
 
Tickets for the huge night of World title action in New York are on sale now via Madison Square Garden and StubHub (www.stubhub.com)
 
Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.
 
Official Ticket and Travel Packages, including the opportunity to travel on the Official Charter Plane, are available to purchase via Sportsworld (www.sportsworld.co.uk) Prices start at £1,095. Reserve your seat today.
 
Tickets are priced, $106, $156, $206, $306, $406, $506, $756, $1,006, $1,256 and $2,506 plus applicable booking fees.
 
Wheelchair seats, companion seats, aisle seats and Assistive Listening Devices are available to purchase by calling 212-465-6034.
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