Pacquiao returns to ring for clash with South Korean YouTuber

Philippine boxing great Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring Sunday for the first time since retiring from the sport last year, facing off against a South Korean YouTuber in an exhibition match near Seoul.

The 43-year-old fighter turned politician stepped away from boxing to launch a bid for the Philippine presidency that failed. He also served as a senator between 2016 and May this year.

On Sunday Pacquiao fought D.K. Yoo in a showcase match on the outskirts of the South Korean capital to raise money for Ukraine and homeless Filipinos.

Dressed in a shiny red robe with gold trimming, Pacquiao emerged into the KINTEX arena in Goyang to roars of excitement from the crowd.

For his opponent Yoo, a martial artist and internet star, it was only the second time in a boxing ring — his previous encounter an exhibition match against former UFC fighter Bradley Scott.

Yoo, dubbed the “Korean Bruce Lee” in his homeland — was no match for Pacquiao despite being significantly taller and heavier.

The South Korean was visibly tired and winded after the second round as a speedy Pacquiao moved in with an explosion of rapid-fire punches.

Pacquiao, who turns 44 next week, was the winner by unanimous decision and hinted that more appearances in the ring could lie ahead.

In a television interview, he said he would continue training to get back in shape. When asked about the prospect of a fight in 2023, he replied: “You’ll see.”

He had suggested prior to the match that he may not be done with fighting, calling Sunday’s bout a “very good stepping stone to come back”.

“This is a great opportunity to come back in the ring,” he added. “I thought it was easy to retire… I really missed boxing.”

Pacquiao, a multiple world champion who hung up his gloves with a 62-8-2 record after winning 12 major titles in eight weight classes, admitted: “I felt lonely when I retired from boxing.” — Agence France-Presse

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