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Oscar, Matthysse set to arrive in Manila


PhilBoxing.com




Boxing legend Oscar de la Hoya will accompany his protege WBA welterweight champion Lucas (The Machine) Matthysse in a visit to Manila on April 18-19 with the Golden Boy gracing a press conference to confirm the Argentinian?s title defense against Sen. Manny Pacquiao at the 16,000-seat Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15.

The bout will be Pacquiao?s first since losing the WBO 147-pound crown to Australia?s Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July. Matthysee won the vacant WBA title via an eighth round knockout over Thailand?s Teerachai Kratingdaeng Gym at the Forum in Inglewood, California, last January and will make his first defense. Pacquiao plans to fight twice this year.

There will be six Filipinos, including Pacquiao, in the bill dubbed ?Fight of Champions.? Four world title matches are in the card. Unbeaten Cebu southpaw Jhack Tepora, 24, is lined up to face a Mexican opponent for the vacant IBO featherweight crown in the chief aperitif. Fighters from Venezuela, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and China will also be featured in the international event, the biggest boxing show in Kuala Lumpur since Muhammad Ali battled Joe Bugner at the Merdeka Stadium in 1975.

It?s a big budget project with each world title fight a guaranteed barnburner. Pacquiao is assembling a card of 10 fights with MP Promotions the lead agency in producing the event. Top Rank will take care of TV distribution in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico while MP Promotions will cover the rest of the world. The four world title fights will be held Sunday morning in Kuala Lumpur for live airing in the US on Saturday evening.

Pacquiao is expected to begin training in General Santos City on Tuesday while the Senate is in recess. The Senate will be back in session on May 14-June 1 with Pacquiao shifting his training to Manila. The Senate will take another break from June 2 to July 22, allowing Pacquiao to step up his training for Matthysse until the fight on July 15. Pacquiao set the bout during the Senate?s recess to avoid a conflict in schedule. President Duterte will deliver his State of the Nation address on July 23 when the Senate returns.

Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri will take charge of Pacquiao?s training with Freddie Roach unlikely to be tapped for the fight. Australian strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune may be brought in from his base in Los Angeles to work with Pacquiao. Former Philippine national boxing coach Ting Ariosa, who lives in Pasadena, has volunteered to join Pacquiao?s staff on a full-time basis for the Matthysse fight. Ariosa, 59, migrated to the US in 1986 and was in the ABAP coaching pool during former Manila Mayor Mel Lopez? term.

De la Hoya and Matthysse will fly in from the US in the morning of April 18 and later attend a press conference to launch the Kuala Lumpur fight. A full schedule is in the works for the visitors before they leave for Kuala Lumpur with Pacquiao in the evening of April 19. A TV special, to be produced by Arnold Vegafria, will be filmed during the visit. There will be a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on April 20. De la Hoya and Matthysse will return to the US from Kuala Lumpur on April 21.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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