Manny Pacquiao made a surprise appearance at the RIZIN.40 New Year’s Eve special.
The Filipino boxing superstar entered the ring with Japanese MMA promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara, and announced that he has “agreed to fight in RIZIN next year.” No specific date or opponent has been revealed, but Pacquiao says he’s “excited to fight a Japanese fighter” of RIZIN’s choosing.
Sakakibara pressed him a little, double checking if he’s really willing to fight “any Japanese fighter,” with Pacquiao nodding and repeating that he’ll fight any Japanese opponent.
Pacquiao, a legendary eight-division boxing world champion, officially retired from professional competition in September 2021 after a loss to Yordenis Ugas. He returned earlier in December 2022 for an exhibition bout though, with the 44-year-old dominating South Korean celebrity martial artist DK Yoo.
The Filipino was in attendance in Japan during his former opponent Floyd Mayweather’s last exhibition bout with RIZIN. Pacquiao’s fight, while clearly not yet signed, is likely to be a boxing exhibition as well.