Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao has signed an agreement with China's Dancing Sports (CDS), a group involved in sports development, to grow professional boxing in China.
The two parties will work together on creating the Manny Pacquiao International Boxing Academy (PIBA), which will train and develop Chinese boxers.
Pacquiao and Vincent Zhou, chairman of CDS, will also co-promote six to eight professional bouts in the Asian country in 2018. They jointly held their first promotion on 29th September, which featured Zhou's prospect Lu Bin in the main event and undefeated former Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga of the Philippines in the undercard.
“Yesterday, I met with President Xi and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and I am glad that the high-level relationship between China and the Philippines is going further,” said Pacquiao. “President Xi's ‘Belt and Road’ initiative is very important, it will help countries along exchanges and cooperation at all levels across borders.
"It is not difficult to see that the signing of this comprehensive agreement is exactly the implementation of the two top leadership initiatives of China and an important action to promote cooperation between China and the Philippines,"
According to Zhou the pact will start a “new boxing era” in China and “will contribute to help realise our great potential in boxing”.
A Filipino senator since June 2016, Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing, having won 11 world titles, and was the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes.
The 38-year-old has 59 victories from his 68 fights but lost his 2nd July WBO welterweight title clash with Australia’s Jeff Horn at Australia Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane by a split points decision.