By Arab News
By Nada Hameed
World Champion Amir Khan defeated Australian Billy Dib during the first boxing league of its kind in Saudi Arabia, organized by the World Boxing Council, on Friday night.
Amir Khan’s fourth round was the final one of the night, one that included local and international team fighters. The undercard included six bouts featuring British middleweight talent Michael Hennessy Jr. vs Abdul Julaidan Fatah; the super-bantamweight contest between Amandeep Singh and Shakhobidin Zoirov; the lightweight contest between Saudi Arabia’s own Zuhayr Al-Qahtani and Farhad Hazratzada; the super-featherweight contest between Lolito Sonsona and Isack Junior; the welterweight contest between Rodrigo Caraballo and Sajid Abid and the heavyweight contest between Ali Kiydin and Hemi Ahio.
The first round for Amir Khan and Billy Dib started with fast punches to the face from Dib on Khan, but Khan took action to avoid Dib and punched him on the cheek.
Amir Khan, fighting in the Kingdom for the first time in his career, earned £7 million ($8.8 million) for the fight in Jeddah.
By the third round, the match started getting tougher and Khan took the lead, hard-hitting until he made the knockout over his opponent, who threw in the towel in the fourth round.
Amir Khan said to the audience after the bout: “It is amazing to be in Jeddah, Jeddah thank you!’’
He added: “Lucky Jeddah season and Inshallah I will be back again, I love Saudi Arabia.’’
Crowds at the “fight night of the year” enjoyed the rap break performed by the American rapper Tayga.
Tayga interacted with the audience by encouraging them to sing with him: “I love you Saudi! Make some noise,’’ he said.
The American rapper Rick Ross also performed for 20 minutes.
The audience included Saudi social media influencers such as TV presenter Badr Al-Zidane, and Hollywood and Bollywood stars.
Boxing fan Iqbal, from the UK and a big fan of Khan, told Arab News: “I was here for last year’s event, the middleweight championship, and I had an amazing experience but today is a bigger event. Lots of sport superstars are around and the event is being organized in a more entertaining way and that is definitely great.’’
Sara Ahmad, 26, a Saudi fan of Khan said: “We all can see the time and effort that the Saudi government is spending to bring an amazing sport event here. Amir Khan’s performance was exactly what I expected, because it could have been possibly his last fight if he got beaten so now he has put some believe back on.’’
The event is part of the “boxing week” lined up for Jeddah Season activities.
The titles of the night’s fighters were:
1. Amir Khan vs Billy Dib — Amir Khan won
2. Hughie Fury vs Samuel Peter — Hughie Fury won
3. Prince Patel vs Michell Banquiz — IBO World Title Fight — Michell Banquiz won
4. Jeddah Sharks vs Jeddah Tigers — Jeddah Sharks won