The President of the Qatar Boxing Federation Yousuf Ali Al Kazim and AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu welcomed a true legend of modern boxing, Manny Pacquiao, to Doha for the AIBA World Championships on Thursday morning.
“It was an honour to be invited by Dr Ching-Kuo Wu and AIBA and Yousuf Ali Al Kazim, and it is a pleasure to be here among these exceptional boxers and supporting my fellow countryman Rogen Ladon at the historic first edition of the competition in the Middle East,” said the eight-time World Champion.
The “People’s Champion” joined the crowds for the start of the afternoon session on day three of the competition to cheer Ladon as he took on Mexico’s number one boxer and two-time PanAmerican Games champion Joselito Velazquez.
His presence was clearly a source of huge inspiration for the young Filipino, and Ladon was quick to gain the advantage over the number-one seed. Velazquez responded well, but was ultimately overcome by the occasion and was comprehensively beaten 3:0 on points
Pacquiao was quick to congratulate his fellow countryman after the bout, and was impressed by the standard of competition. “The boxers here are chasing not just gold,” said Pacquiao, “but a place in their national team for the Olympic Games, the dream of any sportsman and the result of years of hard work. The Qatar Boxing Federation and Local Organising Committee have provided a magnificent stage for them to compete on.”