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2024 Summer Olympics

Pacquiao interested in fighting at Paris Olympics

Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is aiming to extend his legendary boxing career by pursuing an Olympic medal in Paris next year.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino revealed on Wednesday that Pacquiao’s team had inquired about the process for the former eight-division world champion to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Tolentino stated that the POC has commenced discussions with the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which oversees Olympic boxing while the International Boxing Association is suspended.

“Senator Pacquiao’s camp reached out saying our Filipino boxing idol wants to compete in Paris,” Tolentino stated. “However, the Senator can’t qualify through the Asian Games in Hangzhou next month due to the age limit of 40 for athletes in all sports.”

The Asian Games, an Olympic qualifier, sets an age limit of 40 for athletes in all sports. According to Tolentino, since Pacquiao is 44 years old, he could attempt to qualify for Paris through two Olympic qualifying tournaments scheduled for the first and second quarters of 2024.

The third option, as mentioned by Tolentino, would be for Pacquiao to secure a berth through the Universality rule, which the IOC can grant. However, there are only nine Universality places available at the Paris Games—five for women and four for men.

A close aide of Pacquiao confirmed that the former senator is willing to compete in the Olympics and that they have already reached out to Tolentino.

Tolentino also mentioned that ABAP, through its chairman Ricky Vargas, is ready to welcome Pacquiao to the national team and provide assistance with his qualification.

#ReadMore  Bambol Tolentino completes POC elections ticket, taps TAP chief Carrasco as chairman

Pacquiao’s current weight is 66 kgs, and he will need to choose between the 63.50 kgs and 71 kgs weight categories included in the Paris boxing program.

Professional boxers have been allowed to participate in the Olympics, and in Tokyo, 43 out of 186 competitors were professionals. Among them was middleweight bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial, who defeated fellow professional Armenia’s Arman Darchinyan in the quarterfinals.

Prior to Tokyo, Marcial achieved his first professional victory with a unanimous decision over American Andrew Whitfield on December 16, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Marcial has opted to postpone his fifth professional fight in September and will focus on returning to the Olympics through Hangzhou, where he will compete as a light heavyweight.

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