Grammy winner Ashanti to sing national anthem at Pacquiao-Bradley II

MANILA, Philippines - Grammy Award-winning singer/ songwriter, actor and author Ashanti will sing the American national anthem at the rematch between WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley and eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, according to a Top Rank press release.

Ashanti burst onto the music scene with her self-titled debut album “Ashanti” in 2002, earning a No. 1 spot on both the Billboard Top 200 and R&B album charts after selling 504,593 units in its first week. Her first week showing set a SoundScan record as the most albums sold by any debut female artist in the chart’s history, granting her a spot in Guinness Book of World Records. 

Ashanti then secured a No. 1 ranking on six Billboard charts simultaneously for her single “Foolish,” including Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Airplay, the Billboard 200, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks, Hot 100 Airplay, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Hot 100. “Foolish” stayed on the Billboard charts for 11 consecutive weeks. She made Billboard history by having her first three chart entries land in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time. She is the first female to accomplish this feat, previously only attained by the Beatles.

"I'm such a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao! I have family in the boxing business - (1976 Olympic gold medalist) Howard Davis, Jr. and (light heavyweight contender) Dyah Davis," said Ashanti. "When I found out we were sitting next to each other courtside at the Knicks game, I said to my Dad, 'We should take a picture!' I told Manny I was a big fan and was so excited when he asked me to sing the National Anthem at his upcoming fight and I can't wait. I actually love boxing!  Manny's such a champion and I can't wait to cheer him on!" 

Ashanti’s forthcoming album “Braveheart” will be released Tuesday, March 4 on her label Written Entertainment, which she presides over as CEO. The album features the single, “Never Should Have,” which won the 2013 Soul Train Award for Best Independent R&B/Soul Performance. “Braveheart” also includes the tracks “I Got It” featuring Rick Ross and "First Real Love" featuring Beenie Man. Ashanti made her directorial debut for her video “The Woman You Love" featuring Busta Rhymes and produced by LT Hutton.

Manny Pacquiao (55-5-3, 38 knockouts) of General Santos City, Philippines and Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) of Palm Springs, Calif. will face one another in a rematch of their controversial first fight in 2012, where Bradley upset Pacquiao by a split-decision.

The fight will air in America on HBO pay-per-view. There is no word yet on who will sing "Lupang Hinirang" - the Filipino national anthem - at the fight. Past performers at Pacquiao fights include Jessica Sanchez, Charice, Kirby Asunto and Sarah Geronimo. - Rappler.com