Saudi Arabia is now ‘Costco for boxing’ and what it means for Las Vegas – Teddy Atlas

Saudi Arabia’s investment in the sport of boxing in recent months has been astonishing, and it is making everybody in the sport sit up and take notice – including legendary trainer Teddy Atlas.

The territory’s General Entertainment Authority – headed by Chairman Turki Alalshikh – has been spending literal fortunes to entice some of the biggest fighters and promoters to put on the fights which had previously seemed impossible to make.

That much-hyped Riyadh Season kicked off with that Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou crossover event last October, followed by a blockbusting ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in December featuring Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.

Next up we get Joshua vs Ngannou in March, followed by that rescheduled Fury vs Oleksdandr Usyk blockbuster in May and Artur Beterbiev vs Dmitry Bivol in June. It’s incredible stuff.

Atlas, speaking on his ‘The Fight With Teddy Atlas’ podcast, has very strong views on how it has all happened, and what it means for the sport. And it’s legacy major hubs – notably Las Vegas.

All of a sudden the big fights which once went to the glitzy Strip in the Nevada desert, are now going to a different desert.

So how as it happened? Pretty simple says Atlas – in the past fighters and promoters would be on different sides of the street. Unwilling to meet in the middle so often because the financial gains were not there. Not any more.

Atlas on Turki Alalshikh

“He’s [Turki Alalshikh] making boxing more relative, single-handedly, with a few zillion dollars,” said Atlas.

“It took Turki Alalshikh to come in and say ‘okay, I’m gonna throw so much freaking money at you that everybody will love everyone, everybody will be in the same room, everybody will come across the street and it will become my street, the street is Saudi Arabia.

“Right now, I was gonna say it’s on the cusp, it might be beyond the cusp, of Saudi Arabia with Turki Alalshikh becoming a real hub of boxing, replacing Vegas in the United States, replacing all the hubs of boxing in the world. Right now, they are becoming that place, where all the big fights might take place only there.”

Saudi a ‘Costco for boxing’

Atlas also produced a very American analogy to explain exactly what we are seeing in the world of boxing. Or to be specific, a very American consumer brand.

“Right now he’s doing it now by using the promoters to make the fights. He’s using them to outsource the fighters.

“He is understanding that they have the fighters, I have the money. He’s using them to supply the fighters. To make Saudi Arabia and Riyadh kind of a Costco.

“In Costco you can find everything – they went to all the people who were the distributors and they dealt with them directly. They got them to bring the product to Costco.

“Now you go into Costco and you can find anything you want, anything you need. Pretty soon I guess you’ll be able to go over to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and find anything you need in fighters, you’ll be able to find over there.

“Because Turki Alalshikh has taken all the middle men (the promoters out there) and he’s forming a conglomerate over in Saudi Arabia.”

YouTube video