Manny Pacquiao is welcome to defend his WBA title under ONE Championship, says chairman

Santino Honasan on Jul 24, 2018 11:28 PM
Manny Pacquiao is welcome to compete under ONE Championship
"Me inviting Manny Pacquiao, I'm dead serious. If he says yes, let's do it. I'd love for him to defend his belt here in the Philippines, and give the Filipino fans what they want, a mega-card."

In the presence of some of the Philippines' best mixed martial artists, ONE Championship chairman and founder Chatri Sityodtong kicked off Tuesday's Reign of Kings press launch by congratulating arguably the most popular Filipino warrior, eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao. 

Two weekends ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Pacquiao became an eleven-time world champion by stopping Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in seven rounds to become the new WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Champion. 

Aside from giving Pacquiao props, Sityodtong outright invited Pacquiao to fight under the ONE Championship banner, even suggesting that the Filipino boxing legend be the on the main event of a massive ONE card in the Philppines. 

"Manny, congratulations, I'm amazed by your legendary career," Sityodtong said. "Let's join hands, let's give the Filipino fans what they want, let's do an all-Filipino heroes card, a mega, mega-card, blast that to the whole world, Manny Pacquiao, please, I invite you to compete in ONE Championship." 

Boxing is just the latest step that ONE Championship has taken to becoming a complete, global martial arts promotion. 

In 2017, ONE put on grappling superfights as well as exhibition bouts featuring regional martial arts such as Lethwei in Myanmar and Muay Thai in Thailand. 

Earlier this year, ONE went all out with their inclusion of striking-based martial arts such as Muay Thai and Kickboxing with the launch of the ONE Super Series, which has already featured some big-name strikers such as world champion Giorgio Petrosyan and Lumpinee Stadium legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao. 

"What we want to do is showcase all the combat sports, all the flavors, and hopefully we'll get multi-division champions across the different platforms to really celebrate Asia's greatest cultural treasure, martial arts."

For Sityodtong, getting Pacquiao, arguably the most influential Asian combat sports icon, to compete under the ONE banner would definitely be a monumental milestone.

"Me inviting Manny Pacquiao, I'm dead serious. If he says yes, let's do it. I'd love for him to defend his belt here in the Philippines, and give the Filipino fans what they want, a mega-card."

The card, Sityodtong added, would feature other Pinoy combat sports heroes such as reigning ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon Vera, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang, and reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion Geje Eustaquio just to name a few. 

Having Pacquiao defend his WBA strap on a ONE card isn't completely out of the realm of possibility, especially since the promotion announced earlier this month that they've managed to get Thai boxing star and reigning WBC Super Flyweight World Champion Srisaker Sor Rungvisai to defend his titles on ONE Championship's Bangkok card in October. 

The 31-year old Rungvisai is considered by many as among the top-ten best pound-for-pound boxers in the game today. 

With Pacquiao aiming for an in-ring return later this year, could ONE actually snag one of the biggest names in combat sports history? 

 

Catch ONE Championship: Reign of Kings LIVE on Friday, July 27th, 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23!

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