From Saudi Arabia to Zaire: Groves-Smith not the first big fight to be held in an unusual location

(L-R) George Foreman and Muhammad Ali in 'The Rumble in the Jungle' in Zaire on October 30, 1974. Ken Regan /ABC via Getty Images

George Groves and Callum Smith's WBA world super-middleweight title fight is not the first big bout to take place in a bizarre location.

The English rivals meet in the World Boxing Super Series final at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday.

The decision to stage the fight between two popular boxers thousands of miles from their home fans in England was surprising, but world title fights have been staged in some unusual places before.

Boxing in exotic locations was nothing unusual to Muhammad Ali. The three-time world heavyweight champion ended his career in The Bahamas against Trevor Berbick in 1981.

Some of Ali's most famous world title fights took place in countries not known at the time for their boxing, such as against Joe Frazier in the Philippines ['The Thrilla in Manila'] in 1975 and George Foreman in Zaire ['The Rumble in the Jungle'] the previous year.

Ali also fought Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur in 1975, Rudi Lubbers in Indonesia in 1973 and Juergen Blin in Switzerland in 1971.

There have been a few significant fights held in the Middle East and the first fight to take place in the United Arab Emirates was when another English boxer travelled there 21 years ago.

Chris Eubank, whose son, Chris Jr, Groves beat in February, is perhaps Britain's best-known boxer to fight in the Middle East. After reigning as world middleweight and super-middleweight champion, the English boxer had back-to-back knockout wins in Egypt and Dubai in 1996 and 1997 respectively.

Eubank beat Luis Dionisio Barrera in front of 10,000 people at the indoor Heliopolis sports centre in Cairo in an event called "Style on the Nile", a year after losing his rematch with Steve Collins. Many in the crowd were off-duty soldiers.

A year later Eubank stopped Camilo Alarcon at a tennis club in Dubai, in what was the first major bout to be held in the country. It was the second fight of Eubank's comeback tour against an unknown Colombian and like the previous trip to Egypt, it was met with criticism back home.

Eubank also made a WBO world super-middleweight title defence at a hotel in Portugal in 1992. The Brighton boxer got a dull unanimous decision over Ron Essett.

Herol Graham, another English boxer from the same era, was knocked out by American Julian Jackson for the vacant WBC world middleweight title in Spain. The fight was staged at the Torrequebrada Hotel & Casino in Andalucía because Jackson had retina problems and could not get a licence to box in the UK.

As well as abroad, there have been some unusual locations for boxing in the UK.

Eubank's great rivals Nigel Benn and Michael Watson met in a circus tent in Finsbury Park, London in May 1989. It was called the 'Supertent' and 9,000 crammed into the temporary venue to see Watson knock out Benn with a jab in the sixth for the Commonwealth middleweight title.

Carl Frampton's first world title win was also at a temporary stadium, built especially to hold 16,000 on a chilly night four years ago. The fight took place in the Titanic Quarter, the dockyard area of Belfast where the Titanic was built before its launch in 1912. Frampton out-pointed Spain's Kiko Martinez for the IBF world super-bantamweight title at a venue that was taken down the following week.

In July 2012, Tyson Fury stopped Vinny Maddalone in his 19th fight at the Hand Arena, which is used as an equestrian centre in Somerset, England. This reporter trood in horse manure on his way to visiting Fury in his changing room after a stoppage win.

Six fights later and Fury would be crowned WBA-IBF-WBO world heavyweight champion after defeating Wladimir Klitschko in front of 55,000 at the cavernous ESPRIT arena, Düsseldorf, in November 2015.

James DeGale had three fights at an events venue in the Bluewater shopping centre on the M25 near Dartford, Kent. The English super-middleweight had the last of three fights there in 2013 -- two years before he became world champion.

En route to becoming world cruiserweight champion, and later world heavyweight champion, David Haye fought at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills. The English boxer posed for a picture with Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner in California. Haye beat Vance Winn inside two minutes, in what was his fifth professional fight.

"The scenery was just a little bit distracting but I managed to knock my opponent out in a few seconds," Haye said.

"That was a lot of fun. After the fight I hung out for a night and it was definitely one of my wilder experiences."

The Playboy Mansion was used until 2011, when Sergey Kovalev, who would become world light-heavyweight champion two years later, was held to a technical draw due to injury to Grover Young. Vassiliy Jirov and Andre Dirrell also fought at the Beverly Hills venue.