ON THE WEEKEND THAT THEY BRING JAKE PAUL VS TOMMY FURY TO THEIR HOME IN THE KINDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA, SKILL CHALLENGE ENTERTAINMENT (SCEE) SET THEIR SIGHTS TO BE A FORCE IN THE SPORTING WORLD.
Its no secret that there is a desire to host some of the biggest sporting events in the world in Saudi Arabia. SCEE are a driving force behind this and after hosting 2 of Anthony Joshua’s last 4 fights, they don’t seem to be looking to stop there. In recent years we have seen Saudi Arabia invest into The Premier League with the acquisition of Newcastle United, Golf with LIV attracting many of the worlds top players and also staging events for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
At a press conference for this weekends eagerly anticipated contest between Youtuber Jake Paul and Tyson Fury’s younger Brother Tommy, Prince Khalid (King and Prime minister of Saudi Arabia) set out his sights to continue bringing the biggest events in the world to The Kingdom, with a huge focus on boxing. The Chairman of the SCEE intends to lure the biggest names in the sport to fight in the country with rumours of Undisputed Lightweight Champion Devin Haney the latest to be rumoured.
Devin Haney was also in attendance of the Fury vs Paul press conference and all but confirmed his upcoming fight with former Champ Vasyl Lomachenko on May 20th and teased that the fight could indeed land in Saudi Arabia. SCEE have also pulled in former Heavyweight World Champion Mike Tyson and British favourite Dereck Chisora to promote the event.
The money that the Far East can offer for these events seems to be pricing out venues closer to home. The Undisputed World Heavyweight contest between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, which originally looked set to take place in Saudi Arabia, looks to be on the brink of collapse with Wembley Stadium not being able to draw anywhere near the funding that the fight would over there.
Sports such as F1 and UFC are staging more and more events in the Far east and with the recent Football World Cup in Qatar, it is clear to see the funds on offer are making that part of the world a real hub for sport. It is not without it’s controversy though with many views of outrage on their outlook on human rights and treatment of women. The benefit of these events are that it is making the conversation about these issues much more common and hopefully more addressable so that there can be a progressive resolution to the issue although there is an argument that not enough is being done to change.
We have seen some of the worlds greatest golfers sign up to the controversial LIV golf organisation, a move that has caused a stir with the PGA and the golfing world in general. Many of these golfers have signed up due to the promise of greater pay and bigger prize funds and it would be interesting to see if free agents of Boxing are drawn to fight there for the same reason.
SCEE are rumoured to have paid in the region of $80m to stage the rematch between Anthony Joshua and Usyk last summer and Former World Heavyweight Title holders Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jr have both recently left American promotional outfit PBC and are being linked to fight each other in The Kingdom later this year. It is clear to see SCEE are aligned with Saudi Arabia’s vision and we will be seeing many huge sporting events heading to The Kingdom!
By Lee Browne