Pacquiao to open boxing academy in China

Updated: 2014-08-28 07:00

By Associated Press in Manila(China Daily)

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Manny Pacquiao is setting up a boxing institute in China and believes the country has the potential to produce professional world champions.

Pacquiao said on Wednesday that he is working with a Chinese company and the government to set up an institute in his name, with the aim of imparting the experience that has helped him win world titles in eight different weight divisions.

The Filipino, who is a hero in his homeland, was speaking in Shanghai where he is promoting his Nov 22 defense of the WBO welterweight title against Chris Algieri in Macao.

Pacquiao, 35, said the Manny Pacquiao Boxing Education Institute will "start in Beijing, and the plan is for the whole of China".

While China has produced accomplished fighters and Olympic champions at amateur level, there is potential to translate that to the professional ranks, he said.

Local boxers "just need some knowledge about boxing and should be taught the basics", he added.

"Of course, with 1.4 billion people in the whole of China, they can produce good fighters."

Pacquiao, who is also a congressman, told ABS-CBN television in Manila that he intends his new venture to foster warmer relations between the Philippines and China, whose territorial dispute in the South China Sea has intensified in recent months.

"This will even help in strengthening our relationship ... especially since in this project, the Chinese government is involved," he said.

Pacquiao said he would visit the academy "once a month, once in three months, to supervise them".

On top of his duties at the academy and as a congressman and boxer, Pacquiao has taken on the role of playing coach of a new professional basketball team in the Philippines that will see action for the first time in October.

He said the team trains every day, except for weekends. "I can handle it," he added.

The Bible-quoting boxer is idolized by Filipinos, and his win over Brandon Rios in Macao last November was a boost for his country after Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 6,300 in the central Philippines.

(China Daily 08/28/2014 page5)