Manny Pacquiao retired last year but after a short stint in politics it looks like the great is once again more interested in boxing.
Pacquiao made a surprise appearance during Rizin’s spectacular Bellator collaboration, Rizin 40 and along with Japanese MMA promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced he would be competing at Rizin’s next show.
According to a recent report from Tokyo Sports, Pacquiao will face Kota Ibushi in his debut with the Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN. Pacquiao is a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame.
Kota Ibushi was contacted by RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara. He said:
“Please come! In the world of professional wrestling in Japan, there are no wrestlers who are interested. If that happens, it would be great. It would be a truly different match. I don’t want to be small, like Manny Pacquiao. In that sense it’s good. It’s a big love call for RIZIN. The rules are also flexible.”
“I think I’ll approach it. If you’re going to participate in the competition, wouldn’t it be nice to have a professional wrestling match? Unlike in the past, there is a clear distinction between professional wrestling and martial arts these days. Probably not many of our fans watch professional wrestling. Even if you have a match next to a match, you should be able to make martial arts fans think, “Wow, professional wrestling is amazing!” I think I can serve as a bridge between professional wrestling and martial arts.“
On January 31st of this year, Kota Ibushi’s contract with NJPW (New Japan Pro-Wrestling) came to an end.
Ibushi is a 40-year-old Japanese professional wrestler and martial artist. He made his debut in DDT Pro Wrestling in July 2004. Ibushi joined NJPW in 2009. While his achievements are too many to list here, he is regarded as one of the most well-liked wrestlers in Japan.
Manny Pacquiao is the only boxer to have won world championships in eight different weight classes. The 44-year-old lost his most recent fight against Yordenis Ugas in the summer of 2021. Pacquiao confirmed that he signed a contract with Rizin this year.
According to Tokyo Sport, the ruleset for the bout between Ibushi and Pacquiao is still being discussed.
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