Anthony Joshua said he is oblivious about Saudi Arabia’s sports washing campaign ahead of his boxing match in Jeddah. The former two-time world champion doesn’t even know what the term means and only focuses on the fight.
Anthony Joshua is looking to snatch back the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles from Oleksandr Usyk that he lost last year. He lost via unanimous decision after exchanging blows for 12 rounds. The pair will have a rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in August this year.
During a recent interview, the Englishman was questioned about sports washing in middle eastern countries. Sports washing is a pretty new term for countries that use sports to repair their reputation.
Saudi Arabia has been accused of practicing sports washing to cover their human rights abuse. Middle eastern countries are known to abuse human rights of their citizens such as suppression of freedom of expression, privacy violation, arbitrary detention, suppression of freedom of expression, and inhuman treatment of detainees. In addition to this Saudi Arabia is in war with Yemen and has been accused of human rights violations.
A report from The Guardian last year revealed that Saudi Arabia had spent $1.5billion (£1.2bn) on sportswashing for various sports, such as football, formula 1, and boxing.
Both Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk have been asked to speak out about humanitarian issues by Amnesty International, a human rights organization. However, during a recent interview for his match, Anthony Joshua said that he doesn’t even know about said term. Instead, the 32-year-old thinks Saudi Arabia has done great things for sports.
“I don’t know what that [sportswashing] is. I’m here to win the heavyweight championship of the world. I like Saudi. I think Saudi’s good. I’m having a good time here. I’m treated really well.” Joshua said to reporters.
‘AJ’ added that he only wants to enjoy competing in boxing and having a good time.
“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, and bring entertainment to Saudi.” Joshua added.