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Heavyweight title fight Attracts accusations of Saudi’sportswashing’

Anthony Joshua’s standing as a boxing rising star may not be the sole reputation at stake in Saudi Arabia this weekend.

However, Saturday’s much-anticipated world heavyweight title fight is facing criticism from human rights groups that have accused the host nation of trying to conceal its record supporting the prestige of this sporting glamour occasion.

The struggle is the first of its type to occur in the Middle East, but rights groups have called case an endeavor to”sports wash” that the nation’s image on the world stage.

But Joshua did not seem to heed the call, stating that he was”comfortable” with combating from the kingdom.

“All I am here to do is box,” Joshua told The Associated Press before the struggle, which will allegedly see him pocket 70 million.

“It is a huge chance,” he explained. “Boxers want chances. Every game and every company needs global prospects. It ticks a ship for the company, but also sports and tourists.”

NBC News has achieved to Saudi Arabia for remark.

The program has leaned heavily on entertainment and sports as it attempts to enhance its image in the aftermath of widespread revulsion and condemnation after the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

“We’ve got a strategy to alter the social scene inside the realm towards what’s correct, and game is just one of those areas inside the 2030 vision that’s attaining that aim,” Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, chairman of the General Sports Authority, told the BBC before this struggle.

“We are using the game to invite anybody who wishes to find out what it is like to showcase the nation.”

Saturday’s struggle headlined a month-long pair of events known as”Diriyah Season” that began Nov. 22 using a Formula E race and will continue with an eight-man baseball tournament.

Global recording artists have played during the entire month.

The reclusive kingdom also introduced a brand new tourist visa strategy in September to entice foreign visitors.

President Donald Trump’s government has bolstered its alliance with the strong young royal, who has introduced himself as a reformer keen to alter the profoundly conservative society.

The crown prince said earlier this season that while he takes complete responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder because the nation’s chief, he didn’t dictate his murdering. The CIA and other international intelligence agencies have concluded differently.


Human Rights Watch explained that while the nation’s”newfound excitement” for athletics will induce it to progressively adhere to international human rights standards, abuses stay.

“Rather than using sports to rehabilitate its worldwide picture, it could be more economical and simpler for Saudi Arabia to only undertake basic human rights reforms and respect the fundamental rights of its citizens so as to increase its image and reputation in the world,” said Minky Worden, the team’s director of international initiatives.