Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao returns to ring in 2023 with Japanese MMA promotion

Philip Matel

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Pacquiao returns to ring in 2023 with Japanese MMA promotion

COMEBACK. Manny Pacquiao shows flashes of brilliance in his exhibition bout against DK Yoo.


Just weeks after a dominant exhibition win, Manny Pacquiao wants to put on another show, saying he’s ‘excited to fight a Japanese fighter’

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will again set foot in the ring this 2023 in an exhibition bout to be organized by Japanese mixed martial arts promotion Rizin Fighting Federation, he announced just before the new year on Saturday night, December 31, in Japan.

Pacquiao returns to ring in 2023 with Japanese MMA promotion

The eight-division Filipino champion made the announcement during an in-ring appearance at the Rizin 40 event at Saitama Super Arena.

“A few months ago, I was here as a guest and today I have a very exciting announcement tonight,” said Pacquiao, who was beside Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara.

“I have agreed with Rizin to fight [in 2023]. The date will soon be announced, and also my opponent that Rizin will choose. And I’m open and excited to fight a Japanese fighter. Thank you,” added the 44-year-old.

Despite being primarily an MMA promotion, Rizin also organizes kickboxing and boxing matches regularly.

Pacquiao first dabbed in the exhibition bout scene when he dominated Korean mixed martial artist DK Yoo in a six-round unanimous decision victory last December 11.

Pacquiao stepped away from professional prizefighting after bowing to Yordenis Ugas in a unanimous decision loss that saw him surrender his WBA super welterweight belt in August 2021.

The former senator made his formal retirement announcement just as he was ramping up his presidential bid for the May 9, 2022 elections that he eventually lost.

Rival Floyd Mayweather, who had also been facing opponents in similar exhibition bouts, fought twice under the promotion, in 2018, and last September 2022.

During the American pugilist’s September fight against Rizin MMA fighter and YouTuber Mikuru Asakura, Pacquiao sat on the front row. –

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