Pacquiao wants to compete in 2024 Paris Olympics – POC chief

By Jean Malanum

August 30, 2023, 6:21 pm

<p>Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao<em> (Contributed photo)</em></p>

Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao is interested to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Pacquiao's camp has reached out to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, asking how the former eighth-division world champion could qualify in the prestigious quadrennial meet.

“Senator Pacquiao’s camp reached out saying our Filipino ring idol wants to fight in Paris,” Tolentino said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the POC is already discussing the matter with the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which is supervising Olympic boxing while the International Boxing Association is suspended.

“But the Senator can no longer vie for qualification in the Asian Games in Hangzhou next month,” Tolentino said.

The Asian Games, which serves qualifier for Paris, has an age limit for athletes at 40 years old in all sports.

Tolentino said Pacquiao, 44, could qualify for Paris through two Olympic qualifying tournaments set in the first and second quarters of 2024.

The POC chief added that Pacquiao may secure a berth under the Universality rule, which the IOC would grant. But there are only nine places under Universality at the Paris Games, five for women and four for men.

A close aide of Pacquiao has confirmed the former senator's intention to compete in the Olympics.

The ABAP, through its chairman Ricky Vargas, will welcome Pacquiao to the national team and will assist in his qualification.

Pacquiao, who currently weighs 66kgs, must choose between 63.50kgs or 71kgs which are both featured at the Paris Olympics.

Professional boxers have been allowed to compete at the Olympics and in Tokyo, 43 of the 186 competitors were professionals, including middleweight bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial, who beat fellow professional, Armenian Arman Darchinyan, in the quarterfinals.

Marcial won by unanimous decision over American Andrew Whitfield in his first professional fight held on Dec. 16, 2020 in Los Angeles.

Marcial has decided to delay his fifth professional bout scheduled in September so he can join the Hangzhou Asian Games where he will fight in the light heavyweight. (PNA)