While Saudi Arabia braces for the biggest heavyweight showdown of the year, the show will also break new ground when two female boxers square off for the first time in a professional bout in the Kingdom.
British-Somali fighter Ramla Ali faces Dominican Republic’s Crystal Garcia Nova on the undercard of the Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua rematch.
Ali and Nova told Al Arabiya English on Wednesday want to inspire young girls around the world to take up the gloves themselves.
“It’s a huge honour,” Ali said on the sidelines of a press conference ahead of the Rage of the Red Sea event in Jeddah on Saturday.
“Myself and my opponent will be inspiring loads of young girls and loads of women, not only in this country, but all over the world.”
Nova said she was “blessed” to be in Saudi Arabia and be a part of the event.
“It’s a message to all young women that boxing is not only for men, boxing is also for women. And I can go far. And if I can go far, everybody, all the women in the world can learn boxing and can go far and go up in this game.”
Authorities in the Kingdom have traditionally placed restrictions on women’s participation in sports. However, recent years has seen unprecedented progress of Saudi women competing in sports.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan spurred on development of sports in Saudi Arabia, allowing physical education to be taught to girls in school for the first time.