By Steve Kim Updated on January 19, 2024

Riyadh Season

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It's a relatively light week in boxing, but there was a steady stream of news that came in earlier this week, as key additions were made to the boxing schedule for the first quarter of 2024. And this much is clear: it's Riyadh Season in boxing. 

It was announced that cruiserweight champion, Jai Opetaia, would headline the undercard of the Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk undercard in Saudi Arabi on February 17th. This card which has been dubbed 'Ring of Fire' will also include IBF junior lightweight titlist, Joe Cordina, who will defend versus Anthony Cacace, and the return of 'the Krusher', Sergey Kovalev.

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Then on March 8th as Anthony Joshua clashes with Francis Ngannou to headline 'Knockout Chaos' at the Kingdome Arena in Saudi Arabia, a pivotal heavyweight match-up pitting two top 10 Ring Magazine rated boxers in Zhilei Zhang (ranked third) against Joe Parker (rated number four). 

There are some lamenting the fact it seems more and more significant bouts are now taking place in Saudi Arabia, under the direction of His Excellency, Turki Alalshikh. There is a belief within some circles that boxing at the highest levels should only take place in America. Perhaps that's ignorance or arrogance, you can have your own opinion on that matter.

Well, I hate to break it to you guys, but this is nothing new. As Larry Merchant told me years ago, ''they go where the money is." And the bottom line is that the best bottom line resides in Saudi Arabia. After all, isn't this why they call this 'prizefighting', or does that suddenly not apply all of a sudden for whatever reason?

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But to refresh your memory, why do you think Ali-Frazier III ('the Thrilla in Manila), Ali-Foreman ('the Rumble in the Jungle') and Tyson-Douglas, took place in foreign locales? 

It's the money.

And Saudi Arabia is showing that their foray into boxing is far from just a one-off. According to His Excellency, he will continue his quest -- as a boxing fan -- to always strive to bring in the best fights possible. And get this, no more ''YouTube fights'' as he told Ade Oladipo of the DAZN in an extended sit-down interview.

His Excellency Turki Alalshikh Interview: Making The Biggest Fights & Creating New Boxing Fans

They wont get all the fights, that simply isn't feasible or possible. But they will help bridge the gap between rival promoters to help make fights that otherwise would not take place (They even got arch-rivals Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn to work together on a series of bouts. Yeah, talk about peace in the Middle East) Lets be blunt, many of the same reasons that bogged down the sport the past few decades, is why their influence is probably needed now. 

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Meanwhile, just enjoy Artur Beterbiev-Dmitry Bivol in the summer.



Death, taxes....and Oscar De La Hoya and Ryan Garcia not being on the same page.

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On Wednesday night, the head of Golden Boy Promotions tweeted that a bout with 'KingRy' and former unified junior welterweight champion, Jose Ramirez, was imminent. This after Garcia, first announced he wanted to face Devin Haney, and then shifted his focus to Rollie Romero.

Then the next morning, Garcia, refuted his promoter(which seems to be a habit of his). What I'm being told is that Romero may have over played his hand financially, and Isaac Cruz, 'the Pit Bull' who has been kept on a leash in recent year as he angled for a rematch with Abdul Wahid (formerly known as Gervonta Davis), would be willing to face Garcia for significantly less.

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Garcia, who is a titan on social media did have an interesting idea for his next bout.

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This week on 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez and I, we discuss Artur Beterbiev's latest conquest, and everything else in the game of boxing:




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Sandor Martin, the top rated 140-pounder in the WBC, has inked a co-promotional pact with Top Rank, along with his original promoter OPI. Top Rank saw Martin up close as he gave Teofimo Lopez fits in December of 2022. Martin is angling for a title shot against Devin Haney....Golden Boy Promotions announced that WBO minimumweight champion, Oscar Collazo, will be defending his belt versus Reyneris Gutierrez on the Jaime Munguia-John Ryder bill on January 27 in Phoenix, Arizona....Also on this undercard is the well-schooled, Darius Fulghum....ESPN+ begins their coverage of the IBF womans welterweight bout between Natasha Jonas and Mikaela Mayer at 2 pm, ET/11 am, PT....I like all the home teams this weekend in the NFL playoffs....Is there anyone left on the Alabama football team?....I can be reached at






About Author
Riyadh Season
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.