Anthony Joshua praises Saudi Arabia, knows nothing about sportswashing

The two-time heavyweight champion was in Jeddah to promote his upcoming rematch against Oleksandr Usyk.

Anthony Joshua is bidding to win back the WBA, IBF and WBO titles having surrendered them to Oleksandr Usyk last year.

The Ukrainian southpaw outpointed Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to become a two-division world champion.

Joshua - who previously fought in Saudi Arabia back in 2019 against Andy Ruiz Jr - will return once again on August 20.

It has been met with criticism though - with the Middle East country being accused of sportswashing to hide their human rights record.

The nation - which has previously held events in football, boxing and WWE - are also at the centre of a new breakaway league in golf fronted by Greg Norman.

The inaugural LIV series event - which will see a total prize fund of $250m - has seen the likes of Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson ditch the PGA Tour in favour of the eight-event tournament.

When asked about the situation at the press conference, Joshua said: "I don't know what that [sportswashing] is. I'm here to win the heavyweight champion of the world. I like Saudi. I think Saudi's good. I'm having a good time here. I'm treated really well.

"All that allegation stuff, for me, I'm not caught up in any of that stuff. I'm here to have a good time, mix with the local people, bring entertainment to Saudi."

Eddie Hearn was also present at the press conference alongside Usyk and spoke about the impressive work Saudi Arabia have done for the grassroots of boxing in their homeland.

"We've heard a lot about the growth of boxing here in Saudi Arabia, something that is very important to us as fans of the sport.

"It's amazing to bring huge high-profile fights to The Kingdom, but even better to witness the growth of boxing here in The Kingdom, to see these great fighters inspire the next generation.

"We all know Oleksandr and Anthony are two great examples of what boxing can do for a young person, how it can change and how it can shape their lives.

"We really believe that boxing is a tremendous way to shape and mould the lives of individuals and to teach them all the things that are in important in life; discipline, respect, fitness, mental well-being, being part of a team and being part of a community.

"We feel very strongly that boxing can do that."

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