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Saudi wealth fund holding talks to create boxing league, sources say

LONDON/RIYADH :Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is in discussions with multiple boxing stakeholders to create a league, potentially reshaping the competitive landscape of the sport, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

PIF is looking to invest in a joint venture with some of the sport's stakeholders that would feature more boxing bouts, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A handful of leading promoters including Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions are involved in the discussions that could result in a deal valuing the new entity between $4-5 billion, one of the people said. PIF wants to create a venture that would bring the main sport's organisers together, in which it would take a minority stake, the person added.

Turki al-Sheikh, a close advisor to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has been heavily involved in the sports sector and is chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, was overseeing the final discussions around a potential deal about a month ago, a second person added.

Reuters could not establish the details around how a league would be structured.

PIF and Matchroom Boxing declined to comment and Golden Boy Promotions did not respond to requests for comment.

Currently the sport is made up of boxing organisations including the World Boxing Council, the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Association, and the World Boxing Organisation, which each have their own rules for championship belts.

Saudi Arabia has poured billions of dollars into sport as it seeks to wean the kingdom off of oil dependency under de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed's Vision 2030 program, which aims to bring in tourism, boost the private sector, and create jobs.

Boxing

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