Arts & Culture

Riyadh Season 2023 opens with star-studded audience

Featured Image: ekrem osmanoglu on Unsplash

The fourth edition of Riyadh Season opened in Saudi Arabia’s capital city this weekend, featuring a boxing match between heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury and Lineal MMA heavyweight world champion, Francis Ngannou. 

Fury’s split decision victory was watched by current and former footballers such as Saudi Pro League players Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane, as well as Luis Figo, Rio Ferdinand and Ronaldo.

Further celebrities in the crowd included Eminem and Kanye West, as well as Conor McGregor, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Israel Adesanya and Oleksandr Usyk – who is due to compete later during Riyadh Season against Fury for the title of undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

In September, organisers revealed they were hoping to welcome 12 million visitors across the five-month festival. Riyadh Festival first launched in 2019, bringing visitors from across the world to Saudi Arabia to experience concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and other cultural events.

The new Kingdom Arena provided the backdrop for the opening weekend, with musical performances from the likes of Skrillex, Lil Baby, Becky G and Flowdan before the main event between Fury and Ngannou.

“I could not imagine a more fitting way to start Riyadh Season 2023 than witnessing an epic battle between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou,” said His Excellency Turki Alalshikh, chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority. “Riyadh Season will deliver unprecedented excitement and entertainment for audiences across the world in its fourth edition. We are happy to welcome everyone to Saudi Arabia and share the wide range of entertainment events and experiences that Riyadh Season has on offer for them.”

Riyadh Season 2023 continues this week with visitors able to enjoy attractions and events such as WWE, World of Barbie, CR7 Museum, the Legends Museum featuring footballing legends, Zero Latency VR Arena and more.