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Forget Shaolin Temple; China execs tap Pacquiao

By: - Editor / @RLuarcaINQ
/ 05:10 AM August 28, 2014
Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The land known for mystical martial arts experts is tapping the Philippines’ Manny Pacquiao to train future world boxing champions.

China, of the kung fu and Shaolin fighting monks fame, is setting up the Manny Pacquiao Boxing Education Institute in Beijing and other major cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou to further intensify its already strong sports program.

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Pacquiao made the announcement on ABS-CBN television Wednesday from Shanghai, where he is on the second stop of a 43,637-kilometer, 12-day promotional blitz for his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown showdown with American Chris Algieri in Macau on Nov. 23.

“The plan is to share with them (Chinese) my boxing knowledge,” said the 35-year-old Pacquiao, the first and only eight-division world champion.

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“With a population of 1.4 billion, they have so many boxers. So I think they would be able to produce good fighters, like world champions,” he added. “The important thing is to teach them the basics.”

While two-time Olympic champion Zou Shiming (2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games) is regarded as the face of Chinese boxing, he lacks the universal appeal and charisma Pacquiao commands for such an ambitious project.

Pacquiao, a congressman representing Sarangani province, was in Beijing last week to lay down the foundation of the first government-backed boxing academy that would eventually expand to 16 institutions.

According to Pacquiao, who proceeded to Macau from Beijing in time for the kickoff of the Pacquiao-Algieri road show on Monday afternoon, he had held talks with the Chinese authorities for the launch of a company to undertake the novel project.

Improving relations

“They (Chinese government) will put up the facilities, and if I have the time, I will visit them like once a month or once in three months to supervise them,” Pacquiao said.

The champion said he believed his new venture would help restore good ties between the Philippines and China, which are locked in increasingly tense territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

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In an earlier cntv.cn report from Beijing, Pacquiao said “boxing has the ability to bring people together, regardless of their nationality or background.”

In the Philippines, Pacquiao provided the blueprint for the boxing academy chain with his Manny Pacquiao Boxing Academy in Digos City, Davao del Sur province.

Proving his capability to harness raw youth power, stalwarts of the academy dominated the PLDT-Abap National Amateur Boxing Championships that Digos hosted in July.

Defending his decision to impart boxing knowledge to the Chinese, Pacquiao said it would have no adverse effects on Philippine boxing, as the country had no problem producing good boxers.

“What our boxers need is more support,” said Pacquiao, who idolizes the late Chinese kung fu great Bruce Lee.

“I am already helping a few of them,” he added.

Pacquiao has a stable of boxers and never fails to help fighters in distress.

Sports powerhouse

Apart from being a global economic player, China has also emerged as a sports powerhouse, placing second to the United States in the race for overall supremacy in the London Olympics.

Two weeks ago, the Chinese ruled the 41st Chess Olympiad, ending the stranglehold of the Russians and Europeans in the biennial meet held in Tromso, Norway.

From the pool, to the mat, to the tracks, and the square board, the Chinese have made their mark.

With Pacquiao around, the Chinese intend to sow fear in the ring soon.–With reports from AFP and AP

 

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TAGS: Boxing, Boxing schools, China, Diplomacy, Manny Pacquiao, Manny Pacquiao Boxing Education Institute
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