Pacquiao returns to the ring for a clash with South Korean YouTuber

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

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

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

Wearing a shiny red dress with gold trim, Pacquiao emerged from 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, nicknamed “Korean Bruce Lee” in his native country, was no match for Pacquiao despite being significantly taller and heavier.

The South Korean was visibly tired and out of breath after the second round as a quick Pacquiao moved with a burst of quick punches.

Pacquiao, who turns 44 next week, was the winner by unanimous decision and hinted that more in-ring appearances may await him.

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

He had suggested before the match that he might not be done fighting, calling Sunday’s fight a “very good stepping stone to come back”.

“It’s a great opportunity to get 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.”



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