By: Hans Themistode
Amazing, ridiculous, unbelievable, unlike anything else in the world.
These are some of the words that have been chosen to describe the arena that will play host to the mega Heavyweight showdown between unified champion Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs) and former belt holder Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs).
Ever since these two men shared the ring against one another on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, the entire sports world was waiting for them to do it again.
After five total knockdowns between them, coupled with plenty of ebbs and flows during the bout, there June 1st, contest not only leads a loaded field in terms of fight of the year, but it has also produced one of the very best boxing matches in the history of the sport.
A fight of this magnitude can’t simply be placed in any arena. No, the occasion is much too big to be placed anywhere.
The United States has an abundance of great arenas. Madison Square Garden, in New York City, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York and the Staples Center in Los Angeles California are amongst the greatest arenas in the world. Not to mention there are also countless others.
Although these arenas and cities are more than worthy, the contest will instead take place elsewhere.
Halfway across the world in Diriyah Saudi Arabia, a 15,000 seat venue has been made essentially from scratch in order to host this event. It was made with more than 295 tonnes of steel and brings a certain unique look to it as well. Three stands are apart of the design while a fourth will be disconnected from the others. The purpose of these stands will be for the fighters changing rooms as well as VIP/hospitality areas and a TV studio. The fourth and much smaller stand that will be disconnected from the others is where the fighters will enter from. It will give the fans in attendance and those who are watching around the world the feeling that they are watching a gladiator styled event.
The stadium will also feature a Clearview seating system, which will allow fans the opportunity to view the ring without any issue no matter where they have decided to sit. It will be mounted on a substructure that has been provided by their partner, PERI Group.
The brains behind the entire operations is an installation group named Arena. This isn’t the first that Arena has created such a breathtaking site for a massive event. Earlier this year, Arena completed the largest single temporary hospitality structure in Japan. Needless to say, they have outdone themselves once again.
To place this venue in context, it is the single largest temporary seating arena that the company has built since the 2012 London Olympics.
What’s even more impressive is that it was completed it only six weeks with the help of 175 workers. Once the event has come to an end, it will take roughly one month to deconstruct the arena. As for the parts, amazingly, 95 percent of it will be used for other events in the future.
Although the arena in itself is ready right now, it will be reconfigured several times due to the various events that will take place this week.
In short, it is truly an awe-inspiring venue and one that they are proud of.
“It’s incredible what we’ve managed to achieve in just six weeks,” said CEO for Arena Middle East & Asia, Paul Berger. “We’re really proud of our UK and Middle East divisions, who have spent the last six weeks working with a team of 175 people to deliver a project of such scale and specification.
“We are one of the few companies that can offer a full turnkey solution for events of this size, from design and construction through to the luxurious high quality interiors and we are honoured to be involved in a part of history for the Diriyah season and this exciting series of mega events.”
Fans from all across the world seem to be impressed with the layout, but what about the participants?
“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,” said Anthony Joshua. “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.”
Equally impressed was Joshua’s opponent, Andy Ruiz.
“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.”
A historic night of boxing deserves a venue to match. From the looks of it, the Diriyah Arena has done just that.