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WBC chief plots Philippines-Mexico fights

MAURICIO Sulaiman, the chief of World Boxing Council, is looking to pit the Filipinos against the Mexicans in a dual meet next year.  | PHOTOGRAPH BY NICK GIONGCO FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

World Boxing Council (WBC) president Mauricio Sulaiman vowed to stage a dual meet involving the Philippines and Mexico during the second staging of the Elorde-Pacquiao Boxing Awards in 2025.

“Next year, we will hold a dual meet featuring top boxers from the Philippines and Mexico,” Sulaiman said during the awards dinner Sunday at the Okada Manila.

Admitting that he was so overwhelmed by the outpouring of the Filipinos’ hospitality during his visit, Sulaiman likewise assured those in attendance, including eight-division legend Manny Pacquiao and American kingmaker Sean Gibbons that the 2025 celebration will be memorable.

“2025 marks the 50th year of The Thrilla in Manila,” Sulaiman said, noting how the epic heavyweight brawl between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier put the Philippines on the map.

Sulaiman’s attendance was made possible by Pacquiao, who personally invited the WBC chief not just to grace the event but to become its centerpiece speaker.

“This is the Oscars of boxing,” Sulaiman said, overjoyed by the presence of some of the 15 Filipino WBC champions led by the popular Rolando Navarrete and Erbito Salavarria.

The WBC holds a special place in Pacquiao’s heart.

Pacquiao won his first world title — the WBC flyweight strap — in December 1998 in Thailand.

His eighth world crown — the WBC super-welterweight belt — was won in November 2010 in Texas.

“We will make the 2025 edition a bigger one,” said Pacquiao, who was mobbed by the attendees as though he was a rock star even if he is more than three years retired from the fight game.

The major awardees of the night were Marlon Tapales and Melvin Jerusalem.

Also receiving top awards were Eumir Marcial, who has qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the ring heroes of yesteryears.

But in the end, the one who shone like no other was Pacquiao.

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