Carl Frampton has called for fighters and other sportspeople to show the kind of honesty that helped make him a cross-over star when it comes to the issue of competing in Saudi Arabia.
Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua and ‘Rage Against the Red Sea’ promoters Matchroom are the latest to come under fire for agreeing to compete in Saudi Arabia.
The heavyweight duo lock horns at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in the coastal city of Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday, August 20.
Undeniably a case of sports-washing an oppressive regime, the fight has been sold alongside a ‘grow the sport’ narrative – similar to the one pedaled out by golfers that have signed up to the Saudi government-backed LIV Golf tour.
It’s not a narrative ‘The Jackal’ is buying into and whilst he is very reluctant to criticise any boxer for maximizing their earning potential, he has encouraged fighters to be more honest when asked about why they have chosen to fight in a country with massive human rights concerns.
The Belfast boxer fought his final professional bout in another authoritarian petrostate with a questionable human rights record, finishing up versus Jamel Herring in the United Arab Emirates last year.
Frampton, a former two weight world champion believes sports people would get a lot more respect for just saying it as it – the money was too good to turn down.
Speaking to the Independent this week one of Ireland’s greatest ever boxers said:
“I think it’s a bit of a cop-out for people to say: ‘We’re boxing in Saudi Arabia, we’re playing the LIV golf there because we’re trying to promote our sport in the Middle East. It’s bull*** really, it really is.
“I’d almost prefer the athletes, promoters and managers to just say it how it is; just say you’re going there for the money. There’s nothing wrong with that really. We’re in a f***ing sport where there’s only, I’d say, 0.5pc of boxers who are able to live comfortably after they’ve retired. Not many people can buy a house after they’ve had a professional boxing career. Golf’s a different story, but… You’ve got to think of the hundreds of thousands of journeymen boxers who don’t get close to fighting for titles.
“If people were just honest really, I think others would accept that. Just say, ‘Look, the money was too good to turn down, that’s why we’re fighting in Saudi Arabia,’ or, ‘That’s why I’m playing in the LIV tournament.’ But where do you draw the line? ‘I only want to compete in neutral countries that don’t have wars…’ Every f***ing country in the world has their own issues. Where do you draw the line?”