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Why is the Groves v Smith Super Series final being held in Saudi Arabia?

Cian Carroll | 7 August 2018

Fight to be held on 28th September

George Groves defends his WBA super middleweight title against Callum Smith in the final of the World Boxing Super Series final.

The bout will take place in King Abdullah Sports City, 60km north of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It seems odd that a world title fight between two British boxers will take place in a nation who have never hosted a major boxing event before.

But the Coral News Team have sought out three reasons why the fight will take place in the Arab nation.

Lucrative agreement?

We’re obviously not privy to the numbers. However, it’s clear that the organisers have been offered a sweet deal to hold the event at the ‘Shining Jewel’.

Saudi Aramco are the company who owns the stadium and the surrounding area. The state-owned enterprise is an oil and gas organisation with a net income of nearly $500b and will likely have put in a substantial offer.

Other venues were sought – including plenty in the UK – but Jeddah winning the rights was no huge shock.

Spread the boxing love

The organisers of the World Boxing Super Series have viewed the tournament a bit like football’s Champions League or World Cup.

Much like FIFA have done with the latter, Comosa AG’s choice of Saudi Arabia presents the sport with an exceptional global marketing opportunity.

The country has never held a major boxing event before. And Saudi Aramco will be keen to put on a show to millions of spectators around the world.

Groves and Smith are a big pull

British boxing is in its rudest health in decades right now. The majority of the divisions are heaving with top UK talent.

And with Groves – the current champion – taking on a rising star in Liverpool’s Smith, it just goes to show the pull the two fighters have.

Had it been a pair of less illustrious boxers, there might not have been as much desire for Saudi Aramco to host the event.

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