Carl Froch Calls Out Turki Aalalshikh – ‘The Atmosphere Is Poor, People Are Falling Asleep’

June 11, 2024
1 week
Carl Froch Calls Out Turki Aalalshikh - 'The Atmosphere Is Poor, People Are Falling Asleep'

Carl Froch has hit out at Turki Aalalshikh’s boxing events in Saudi Arabia over the poor atmosphere. 

The Kingdom has put on the biggest fights in recent memory. So far, fans have seen Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua face Francis Ngannou. They also put on the biggest fight in boxing: the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship as Fury lost to Oleksandr Usyk. The rematch has been set for December 21, giving boxing fans a big fight at the end of the year. There is also the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Championship fight between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol, which will take place on October 12. Although fans are getting the big fights, the atmosphere has not gone down well with Froch. 

Froch Reacts

“I’ve been to Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere every single time I’ve been there has been really poor. I enjoyed the 5v5, some great fights – somebody’s falling asleep at ringside. Other people are on their phones when the action’s kicking off. The [Filip] Hrgovic-[Daniel] Dubois fight was great – nobody was interested. There was a few British fans in the background out of their seats. But everybody ringside, it doesn’t lift the fighters and it’s bad for the sport. It’s a real shame,” Froch said

“I feel like I am the only one who will tell the truth and who addresses it. Anybody else who is asked questions, they’re just…scared of losing their media accreditations, and they won’t get invited. So you ask the likes of the gad Gareth Davies what the atmosphere is like, and he says, “Yeah, it’s alright, it’s fine. I love it out here. They feel obliged to be complimentary about the atmosphere because they are on the payroll,” Froch added

One way the Saudis are looking to counter that criticism is to host fights outside of the Kingdom. They will host their first card overseas during the Riyadh Season on August 3. Terence Crawford and Israil Madrimov will headline the card. Other big names that will be featured include Vergil Ortiz and Andy Ruiz. The United States has long been the ‘Mecca of boxing,’ making it understandable that the sport will resonate more with the public.

While the Saudis may not have the same atmosphere, they are still very much new to the boxing game. It will take time to create a bigger fanbase, which can only happen when more fights are put on in the country. This may be a short-term sacrifice that is needed if fans want the best bouts.

Hearn Responds

The Saudis will also host a mega card in September at Wembley. Anthony Joshua is expected to headline, with the expectation that he faces Daniel Dubois. If the Kingdom can put on big events outside of Saudi, it will draw more eyes on the country, increasing its fanbase. Eddie Hearn did not take Froch’s comments too kindly.

“You are bringing boxing to a territory that is still understanding the sport and the more that they understand it the more passionate they are going to get, the more knowledgeable they are going to get. The more knowledgeable that they get, the more opinionated they are going to get. The more passionate that they get, the louder they are going to get. “It’s not like the atmosphere is poor, it’s just not the same atmosphere as it is in England.

“So what? Rather than that, we should be saying how good it is at the moment [to be] boxing in Saudi. You are getting every fight that you want to happen to happen in Saudi, every couple of weeks there is a massive show and the cards are unbelievable. “It is lifting up the eco-system of boxing, I don’t know why there needs to be a negative spin on it because there is nothing negative to say about what is happening. It is great for boxing,” Hearn stated 

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