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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Pacman unfazed by young Japanese MMA champion

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At 45, Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is proving that age is just a number, as he is set to face Japanese mixed martial arts champion Chihiro Suzuki in a three-round exhibition match on July 28 at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

Exuding confidence, Pacquiao downplays the need to study his opponent’s MMA background.

“I didn’t see his fights because it’s MMA, but I know what boxing is. I don’t need to study his style,” said Pacquiao.

The former eight-division world boxing king is already looking beyond this fight, hoping for more opportunities under the RIZIN banner.

“I hope after this fight, Sakakibara-san will give me a fight again in RIZIN,” he added.

Suzuki, the RIZIN featherweight champion, is equally confident, though.

“I believe that I’m the only one qualified to challenge Manny Pacquiao … with the potential to finish Pacquiao,” said Suzuki. “He (Pacquiao) will teach me what boxing is, but I will teach him what MMA striking is about.”

The formal announcement of their exhibition bout came after a face-off in Tokyo during RIZIN 47, where they finalized their agreement for the upcoming bout, which is part of the Super RIZIN event.

Pacquiao retired from professional boxing after losing his super-welterweight world title to Yordenis Ugas at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in 2021.

He then ventured into politics, running for president of the Philippines. His brief return to the ring saw him dominate an exhibition match against YouTuber DK Yoo, demonstrating that his skills remain sharp.

Now, the former eight-division world champion is considering one last run, but first, he must perform well against Suzuki.

Suzuki, regarded as one of the top fighters outside of the UFC, brings his own impressive credentials to the ring.

As the current RIZIN champion, he has defeated notable opponents such as Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire, making him a formidable challenger for Pacquiao.

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