British boxer Callum Smith emerged victorious in Saudi Arabia’s first professionally sanctioned boxing match on Friday.
The historic event, dubbed ‘Rowdy in Saudi’, drew local and international crowds to the Indoor sports Hall at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City including former greats Evander Holyfield and Prince Naseem
Smith secured the WBA super-middleweight title with a seventh-round knockout, ending fellow Briton George Groves’ 16-month reign.
The winner went home with $10m, the inaugural Mohammed Ali trophy, while his rival was given $5m.
“I’m not a man who shows a lot of emotion, you never see me ecstatic, but you saw it tonight because it’s a lifetime ambition fulfilled,” Smith said.
Two Saudi fighters, Zuhayr Al-Qahtani and Abdulfatah Julaidan, also competed on the night and secured point victories with the support of the home crowd.
While Chris Eubank Jr. won his comeback fight after Ireland’s JJ McDonagh retired after three rounds with a shoulder injury.
The event came under a deal signed last year between the General Authority for Sport and tournament organisers Comosa.
The authority has been expanding the kingdom’s events calendar under a wider driver to boost the entertainment industry.
In April, Jeddah hosted a World Wrestling Entertainment event dubbed ‘The Greatest Royal Rumble’ and in February its first-ever international motorsport event.
January also saw women attend football matches in the kingdom for the first time.