x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Boxing venue for Khan-Alexander title bout still under consideration

While negotiations continue regarding a deal to bring to Dubai a title fight, a custom-made arena erected at the foot of Burj Khalifa is just one of several possible venues being explored to host the lucrative bout. Gary Meenaghan reports.

Golden Boy Productions is pursuing a multi-year deal in which Dubai would host many boxing title bouts, the first of which could be Amir Khan, above, and Devon Alexander. Paul Ellis / AFP
Golden Boy Productions is pursuing a multi-year deal in which Dubai would host many boxing title bouts, the first of which could be Amir Khan, above, and Devon Alexander. Paul Ellis / AFP

DUBAI // While negotiations continue regarding a deal to bring to Dubai a title fight between IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander and Amir Khan, a custom-made arena erected at the foot of Burj Khalifa is just one of several possible venues being explored to host the lucrative bout.

Richard Schaefer, the chief executive of the Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions, is in the emirate this week meeting with Dubai government officials regarding a possible December 7 match. While no deal is yet in place, talks are at an advanced stage and potential venues have been discussed.

Dubai's last high-profile professional match, between Chris Eubank and Camilo Alarcon, was held in 1997 at the Aviation Club, which has a capacity of 5,000.

Such is the interest the proposed Khan-Alexander title fight would generate, Schaefer told The National the 30,000-capacity Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium is being evaluated.

"There are different ways to go about it," he said.

"It could be an existing venue such as the cricket ground, or it could be something spectacular that will utilise some outdoor places in Dubai to show the beautiful skyline.

"It could mean building a temporary facility to accommodate the anticipated number of people. Ultimately, that would be up to the local organisers."

When the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour came to Dubai in April, it was held in a spectacular makeshift venue at the base of the world's tallest building.

Such a concept appeals to Schaefer, who added any fight would likely take place at prime-time local time.

"If you want to put together a global event that will be broadcast to 160 countries, you want a time that will make everybody happy," he said.

"Prime time Dubai works for the US as it would be morning on the west coast and noon in the east.

"It would also be suitable for Asia as well and for Europe, so that is probably the preference."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

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