Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao, the Filipino professional boxer and now state senator, met with the president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, secretary general of the NOCC Vath Chamroeun and a host of members from the Cambodia Boxing Federation at Phnom Penh’s Sofitel Hotel on Wednesday.
Pacquiao is visiting the Kingdom on a two-day state visit alongside firebrand Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte.
Pacquiao, who is widely considered to be among the greatest boxers ever and a winner of eleven world titles, thanked Cambodia for the invitation and pledged to return in the future to help coach young Cambodian boxers.
“One day I can come back here and teach them the techniques of boxing and share my knowledge with them,” said the 37-year-old as he was drowned out by applause from attendees.
“Boxing is my passion and I’m so happy I am able to meet your boxers here today. And the warm welcome you have given us as visitors. And also thank you for the support from the Filipino people here in Cambodia. I’m hopeful for the strengthening of our relationship,” he added.
Speaking to journalists and attendees after the reception, Mr. Khon said he hoped Pacquiao would fulfill his promise and return to Cambodia in the future to help strengthen the boxing scene here – especially with Cambodia working hard to meet their goals ahead of the 2023 SEA Games which Cambodia will host.
He also said the NOCC has proposed to appoint him as a sports ambassador to Cambodia, and perhaps would be able to pass on his considerable talents to Cambodia’s burgeoning young fighters.
Among those in attendance were some of Cambodian boxing leading lights including, Lao Chantrea, Sen Bunthen, Vong Noy, Sim Bunsrun and Eh Phoutong – all of whom took the opportunity for a selfie with the Filipino great.(Khmer Times, I. Vorajee/Philboxing)