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Katie Taylor would be ideal for ‘incredibly groundbreaking’ Saudi Arabia fight suggests Eddie Hearn


Eddie Hearn believes there would be no better way for Saudi Arabia to convince the world they are changing than by allowing him to put a female fight on the Andy Ruiz Anthony Joshua undercard.

The Matchroom boss also believes there would be no better person than Katie Taylor to partake in that fight.

Hearn has previously said that he was unaware as to whether Joshua undercard regular Taylor could appear or not in the Middle Eastern country, but did point out schedule rather than Sharia Law would prevent her from appearing.

However, speaking on 5 Live this week he suggested the country allow him to host a female fight – and sold it as the best way to prove the progress the want the world to perceive they are making.

The promoter has come under fire for bring such a high profile event to the venue.

Amnesty International have accused Saudi Arabia of ‘sportswashing’ whilst joining a host of people online in raising concerns around the oil-rich country’s blood-stained human rights history.

There were a large cohort who questioned whether or not Katie Taylor, a female, could appear on the card in a country where women only obtained the right to drive a car last year.

Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of dictator King Salman, Saudi Arabia has been making inroads and this month issued a decree which stated that women over 21 are now able to obtain passports and travel abroad without permission from their male ‘guardian’.

However, their Sharia-based legal system still differentiates extensively and rather disgustingly between genders. The world’s premier professional wrestling organisation, the WWE, have hosted three events in Saudi Arabia but none of their female stars were ‘allowed’ to participate.

Boxing fans have been querying if that would be the case come December 7th, with most referencing Taylor to make their point.

Hearn, who admits he was prepared for criticism, now believes Saudi Arabia can prove to the world they are making changes and strides forward in terms of equal rights by allowing a female fight to play out on the card.

The promoter, who doesn’t like to make the distinction between male and female boxing, spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live with regard to the ‘incredibly groundbreaking’ feat of staging a women’s fight on the card and believes Taylor would be ideal to break that ground.

However, he points out her November 2 fight, which Irish-boxing.com have been informed will be a bill topper in Manchester, should prevent that from happening.

‘We have had criticism with the choice of venue. Saudi Arabia are trying to convince the world via sport and entertainment, “we are changing”. There’s no better message than delivering that.’

“The fighter we would have there is Katie Taylor. She’s due to fight in November though, so I’m not sure if that’s going to fit with her schedule.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com