Pac­quiao to un­earth Chi­nese boxing stars

The Jakarta Post - - SPORTS -

BEI­JING: Filipino boxer Manny Pac­quiao hopes to un­earth the next Chi­nese world cham­pion and help grow the sport with an academy in the largely un­tapped coun­try.

The 38-year-old, who con­tro­ver­sially lost his World Boxing Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WBO) wel­ter­weight ti­tle to Aus­tralian Jeff Horn in July, was in Bei­jing this week.

He and Chi­nese sports-de­vel­op­ment firm Dancing Sports held a sign­ing cer­e­mony that in­cluded plans to build a Manny Pac­quiao In­ter­na­tional Boxing Academy in the cap­i­tal, the com­pany said.

Zhou Wenxin, chair­man of Dancing Sports, said their tie-up would deepen Chi­nese-Philip­pine re­la­tions in boxing and beyond.

The academy will draft in coaches from abroad to help de­velop Chi­nese boxing, which has never had a truly world-class fighter. There is no pub­lic time­line for when it will be built.

China’s most fa­mous boxer, Zou Shim­ing, lost his WBO fly­weight belt when he was knocked out by Ja­pan’s un­fan­cied Sho Kimura in his first de­fense in July.

When Pac­quiao’s plans for China were first an­nounced in 2014, he said that he be­lieved the part­ner­ship could help thaw frosty ties be­tween the Philip­pines and China, who were en­gaged in a ter­ri­to­rial mar­itime dis­pute in the South China Sea.

Re­la­tions have since im­proved con­sid­er­ably un­der cur­rent Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte. — AFP

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