Simon Jordan believes it would be ‘fundamentally wrong’ for the Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua rematch to take place in Saudi Arabia.
The Middle Eastern nation is now the frontrunner to stage the highly-anticipated heavyweight title fight in late June, having previously also played host to AJ’s second fight with Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
As in 2019, this news has not been well received due to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, with many suggesting the fight would be another example of ‘sportswashing’ from the regime.
“So here we are,” Jordan began, “We have a situation where a fight of this magnitude – it cannot be fought in an environment like the Middle East.
“It just can’t, it’s fundamentally wrong across the board.
“I mean we’ve gotta have the argument about sportswashing as a matter of course, but even more so…
“The fight takes on a completely different narrative.
“Because if it goes to somewhere like Saudi Arabia it’ll then be put through the prism of, ‘What is boxing doing? Why is it sportswashing? Why is it allowing one regime that does similar things to what’s happening over here?’”
Regarding what all this means for AJ, Jordan added: “This is brand diminishing for him.
“If he starts advocating for fights to be placed in certain parts of the world because of the pay cheque, it’s brand diminishing for Anthony Joshua.”
There is also another angle to consider, given the fact Usyk has now left Ukraine amid their invasion by Russia to represent the country on the world stage.
“I do think it’s a very challenging one for Anthony Joshua,” Jordan continued.
“Because not only has he got to fight a man that pretty much took him to school, we’ve now got a man with even more confidence than he went into the first fight with.
“With a nation behind him, with the world behind him because of the circumstances.
“So Joshua is in a terrible situation.
“If he wins, there are gonna be people that are quite sad that a Ukrainian fighter has lost.
“So he’s he’s in this really invidious position.
“But the bottom line is this fight elevates a whole raft of other issues.”