PERTH, AUSTRALIA — Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s fans here are bursting in pride after the fighting Senator appeared on an Australian sports talk show and gamely exchanged with the show’s hosts.
James Brayshow, Craig Hutchison, Sam Newman, and Rebecca Maddern.
“He’s amazing, downright honest and humble despite his stature,” said one Filipina nurse who works in Fremantle in West Australia.
A handful of Filipinos were also in the gallery to cheer Pacquiao on waving a giant Philippine flag.
Indeed, this surge of excitement among Filipinos across Australia is fanned by the forthcoming Pacquiao fight against undefeated Brisbane school teacher and former Olympian Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Many Filipinos have already started booking tickets since the ticket windows opened for the fight. A general admission ticket could fetch from $64 (Php 2,432) to $278 (Php10,564).
As of Monday, May 1, the Boxes and the Suites tickets are already sold out.
The Suncorp Stadium could seat 52,000 people.
The Courier Mail reported on Monday that the Horn-Pacquiao fight is likely to draw the world’s biggest fight crowd for the rest of 2017.
After Sunday’s thrilling victory by Anthony Joshua over Wladimir Klitschko which drew 90,000 people for their world heavyweight title fight at Wembley Stadium in London, promoters of the World Boxing Organization welterweight title fight at Suncorp Stadium are contemplating extra seating to supplement the expected full house of 55,000.
This early, the Horn-Pacquiao is predicted to draw not just the biggest crowd ever for a fight in Australia but the biggest crowd for any sporting event in Queensland.
The record stands at 58,912 at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, in Nathan, for the 1997 Super League grand final in which Steve Renouf gave a man of the match performance as the Broncos ran over the Sharks.
On current ticket sales, by next week, Horn and Pacquiao will have topped the Australian record crowd in boxing of 38,000 who saw Azumah Nelson beat Jeff Fenech at Melbourne’s Princes Park in 1992.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, who over the last 51 years has staged such monumental fights as the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier heavyweight Thrilla in Manila in 1975, said in an interview that the Joshua-Klitschko fight on Sunday was a great contest that could only enhance the big battle at Suncorp.
Arum watched the fight in Brisbane with Horn and co-promoter Dean Lonergan, whose company Duco Events is piloting their WBO heavyweight champ Joseph Parker into a Joshua fight.
The Mail reported that during Sunday’s lunch with Tourism Minister Kate Jones, whose government is sponsoring the Horn-Pacquiao fight, quoted the Top Rank promoter as saying: “Joshua-Klitschko was a tremendous advertisement for the big fight in Brisbane. It was one of the best heavyweight fights I’ve seen for years and showed everything that’s good about boxing, with two highly conditioned athletes giving their all just as Pacquiao and Horn will do on July 2.
Arum hopes Pacquiao-Horn will reach the same heights.
Pacquiao sad in the pre-fight conference last week in Brisbane that a huge Australian crowd supporting Horn on July 2 will only add to the excitement of the fight and that he has no problem boxing in enemy territory.
Pacquiao had beaten Aussie boxing star Anthony Mundine’s conqueror Joshua Clottey before 50,994 fans on an Arum promotion at Cowboys Stadium in Texas in 2010 and says he hopes even more people will turn out to see him stake his title against Brisbane’s Fighting Schoolteacher.