Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao is expected to arrive in Phnom Penh today as a member of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s entourage for his two-day visit to the Kingdom.
It is expected that the WBO welterweight champion and Philippine senator, who will be making his first visit to Cambodia where he is hugely popular, will meet some of the Kingdom’s athletes and sporting officials at the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia’s headquarters.
Sports officials have said they plan to propose to Pacquiao a cooperation deal if they get positive feedback from their time with the eight-weight world champion. “We are preparing for the meeting, but we don’t yet fully know when it will happen,” the general secretary of the NOCC, Vath Chamroeun, told the Post yesterday.
“The presence of Pacquiao in Cambodia will be a huge encouragement to our athletes, because although he is of small stature he became a legendary boxer. He was born in a poor family but strove very hard and achieved huge success,” Chamroeun added.
Cambodian Boxing Federation president Tem Meun said: “We don’t have plans to sign any deals in the meeting. We will have to see the results of the talks before making any decision.”
Asked whether the Boxing Federation will propose any agreement to Pacquiao, Meun said: “We will meet first. Then we will tell him about our boxing situation and share some experiences with him because he is a legendary boxer.
“Any deal will happen after that, but we will see how the meeting goes.” Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking at the Peace Palace on Friday while honouring petanque player Sok Chanmean, said: “It is good that Manny Pacquiao is to visit our country. We will give him a warm welcome and ask him to visit the NOCC and meet with our Boxing Federation.”
Chanmean won gold in the men’s precision shooting at the 2016 Petanque World Championships in Madagascan this month.
Pacquiao who is hopeful of a rematch with arch-rival Floyd Mayweather Jr, who he lost to on points in what was billed as the “Fight of the Century” in May last year, has a record of 59 wins (38 KOs), six losses and two draws.
The 37-year-old took his seat in the Philippine Senate on June 30.
Translated by in sopheng