The Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation has put its full support behind the proposed exhibition bout between boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and former world champion Anthony Mundine, tentatively scheduled for June.
Executive Director of the PNGSF Al Veratau told the National newspaper, “The Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation is partnering with the Oceana Fight Promotions to make sure we deliver the Manny Pacquiao-Anthony Mundine exhibition bout in Port Moresby. We’ve asked the Government to invoke the National Events Council to assist because it is a huge event in the 2023 sports calendar.”
Australian advisor Peter Maniatis added, “This will be the biggest global sporting event in the history of Papua New Guinea. Well done to the PNG Government and Maryanne Millie Oceania Fight Promotions.”
Meantime, newly crowned WBO minimumweight world champion Melvin ‘Gringo’ Jerusalem received his newly minted WBO championship belt this afternoon from WBO vice-president for Asia-Pacific Leon Panoncillo Jr during the formal turnover ceremony followed by a press conference at the Bayfront Hotel here attended by Jerusalem’s managers husband and wife Nobuyuki and Marivic Matsuura together with Jerusalem’s promoter JC Manangquil.
Jerusalem captured the highly coveted belt from Masataka Taniguchi of Japan by a stunning second round knockout at the Edion Arena in Osaka last Jan. 6 that put the Philippines back in the boxing world title map.
Panoncillo said that the well-crafted sparkling-stone laden belt given to Jerusalem was only the second of its kind awarded to its champions after the latest design was approved by the WBO during its convention last October in Puerto Rico. Japanese star Naoya Inoue was the first to received it after the ‘Monster’ unified all belts by defeating former WBO bantamweight champion Paul Butler of England on Dec. 13, 2022 in Tokyo.
Jerusalem later said that he wanted to unify all belts and aim to fight WBA super champion Thammanoon Niyomtrong aka Knockout CP Freshmart of Thailand as a first step.