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Pacquiao to face MMA champ Suzuki in July exhibition


Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring for the first time in over a year and a half for an exhibition boxing match against Rizin FF featherweight champion Chihiro Suzuki on July 28 in Saitama, Japan.

Rizin FF, an MMA promotion based in Japan, announced the news during Sunday's Rizin 47 broadcast.

Pacquiao-Suzuki will be contested at 150 pounds and feature three three-minute rounds.

The two men squared off in the ring in Tokyo after revealing the matchup.

Pacquiao last entered the ring in December 2022 when he defeated DK Yoo in an exhibition bout in South Korea. The Filipino icon's most recent professional boxing match was a unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugas in August 2021, leading to his retirement one month later.

However, Pacquiao announced his intentions to return to pro boxing early last year. Though he has yet to deliver on that promise, the 41-year-old could challenge for a world title later in 2024. Manny Pacquiao Promotions president Sean Gibbons told ESPN's Mike Coppinger on Saturday that a WBC welterweight title fight against Mario Barrios is being explored for this fall in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao was scheduled to take on Muay Thai great Buakaw Banchamek in an April exhibition bout in Bangkok, but it was called off.

Suzuki, who captured the Rizin featherweight title last November, is riding a nine-fight unbeaten streak in MMA and holds an overall record of 13-3 (1 NC). Suzuki, 25, scored the biggest win of his career last summer when he upset Bellator featherweight champ Patricio "Pitbull" Freire with a first-round knockout.

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