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Manny Pacquiao to return to ring in 2023

Manny Pacquiao is taking his act to Japan.

Manny Pacquiao reaches a deal with Rizin for a fight in 2023. (Photo from Rizin)

The retired boxing legend made the announcement Saturday, Dec. 31, that he has inked a deal with Rizin, a Japanese mixed martial arts league, and will make his return sometime this year.

“A few months ago, I was here as a guest and today I have a very exciting announcement.” Pacquiao said in a surprise appearance at Rizin FF 40 at the Saitama Super Arena.

“I have agreed with Rizin to fight next year, the date will soon be announced and also my opponent that Rizin will choose. I’m open and excited to fight a Japanese fighter,” the eight-division boxing champion added where Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara joined him.

Pacquiao retired from the sport in 2021 after a painful loss to Yordenis Ugas in order to focus on his presidential candidacy.

He returned to the ring in December where he fought South Korean mixed martial artist DK Yoo in South Korea in an exhibition match.

The Filipino icon dominated that match as Yoo had virtually no boxing experience.

Pacquiao did not go into details after the nature of his upcoming fight. Rizin, however, focuses on bouts primarily in MMA, but also in kickboxing and boxing.

Pacquiao’s rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. has done two exhibition matches with Rizin – in 2018 against Tenshin Nasukawa and in September.

In a press conference after the initial announcement, Pacquiao promised a better fight than the last time.

“It’s good to have an exhibition fight in December,” Pacquiao was quoted saying in an article at boxingscene.com. “My opponent [was] a martial art[ist] who does not know boxing at all. That’s why he experienced a hard time in the ring. But this next exhibition match here in Japan, this is different. Probably my opponent is a professional MMA fighter, so he knows how to punch.”


Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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