Who is Turki Alalshikh? The man behind Saudi Arabia’s boxing revolution

Matt Hobkinson
Turki Alalshikh

Turki Alalshikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, controls the largest purse strings in boxing.

It is no coincidence that the sport’s biggest fights – such as Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed heavyweight champion of the world clash – are taking place in Riyadh.

But who is the man that ended the feud between Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren to give fans some of the best fights in boxing history?

Who is Turki Alalshikh?

Turki Alalshikh (Al-Sheikh), 42, is a Saudi adviser to the Royal Court and current chairman of the General Entertainment Authority.

He has been tasked with bringing some of the biggest sporting and cultural events to the Kingdom and has looked to make Saudi Arabia synonymous the new home of boxing.

His Excellency – a title given to members of the extended Royal Saudi family, of which Alalshikh is one – is no stranger to shaking things up in the world of sport.

Whether it’s the controversial breakaway LIV golf movement, bidding for the FIFA World Cup in 2034 or Saudi Arabia’s increased involvement in F1 – his work behind the scenes has been pivotal in the country’s attempts to shape its image as a sporting and cultural powerhouse.

It must be said though that not everything Alalshikh touches, turns to gold. The 42-year-old owns Spanish top-flight soccer team, Almeria. Having bought the club in 2019, they finished stone last this season and have been relegated to the national second division – two years after making it into La Liga.

But without question, Alalshikh has changed the face of boxing as we know it.

Ending Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn’s feud

Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren – the two biggest promoters in the sport – did not get along. Well, that is, at least publicly, no longer the case thanks to Turki Alalshikh.

The rival promoters did not speak for years and likely still would not if it were not for the involvement of His Excellency. It was even reported that the pair had never met in person until 2023.

Yet on June 1, Warren’s Quensberry Promotions and Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing will put on a mouth-watering five-versus-five card to take place in Saudi Arabia, including Deontay Wilder vs Zhilei Zhang.

“We should have really done this a long time ago in all honesty,” Hearn told TNT Sports about his rivalry with Warren; “It has taken His Excellency, who could not care less [about our rivalry] and told us to move the sport forward.”

“This is not a guy [Alalshikh] asking what he has got to do and how to bring boxing to Saudi Arabia,” he added. “He is telling us that he likes this guy and that guy, and how about this guy versus that guy.

“We are looking at the undercards, and traditionally, we would look at an undercard as a business and say, ‘That’s enough’ [financially]. He is the opposite. He wants more and more, and that is amazing for fight fans.”

His Excellency has given fans undercards full of world title fights and genuine coin-flips that could go either way, especially in the heavyweight division.

Boxing’s biggest fights

As Hearn has said, Turki Alalshikh has produced some mouthwatering boxing cards for fans.

Last year’s ‘Day of Reckoning’ in Saudi Arabia saw Anthony Joshua, Deontay WilderJoseph Parker, Daniel Dubois, Jarrell Milller, Filip Hrgovic and Otto Wallin all fight on the same card.  

His Excellency has promoted Joshua’s last two fights (Wallin and Ngannou), as well as Fury’s (Ngannou and Usyk) – with fans now hopeful that there is a long-awaited pathway for AJ and The Gypsy King to go toe-to-toe.

And for those hoping that a bout could be held in Wembley, London – not in Saudi – Alalshikh has proven that his reach extends beyond Riyadh.

Terence Crawford’s upcoming fight with Israil Madrimov will take place in Los Angeles on August 3 with another blockbuster card including the likes of Andy Ruiz, Tim Tszyu and Jarrell Miller.

But His Excellency is not done there, eyeing up what would be a hugely popular fight between Crawford and Canelo Alvarez.

Ahead of Anthony Joshua’s upcoming fight in September, likely against the winner of Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic, Alalshikh wants Naoya Inoue to feature, while a super fight with Gervonta Davis also waits in the wings.

Turki Alalshikh’s promoted fights

  • Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou
  • Anthony Joshua vs Otto Wallin & Deontay Wilder vs Joseph Parker
  • Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou
  • Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk
  • Matchroom vs Queensberry five v five (incl. Deontay Wilder vs Zhilei Zhang)
  • Terence Crawford vs Israil Madrimov

For all the biggest results and upcoming fights this year, check out Dexerto’s 2024 boxing schedule.

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