AirAsia in the ring with boxing champ Manny Pacquiao
Close-up of the special AirAsia Airbus A330 Pacman livery

Nine-time world champion AirAsia will be flying boxing legend Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao to Australia for his World Boxing Organization (WBO) title defense.

Pacquiao, the only boxer to have won titles in eight weight classes, will be defending his WBO welterweight title against Australia’s Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 2 July 2017. It will be his first defence of the title since winning it in a unanimous decision from American boxer Jessie Vargas in November 2016.

AirAsia will fly Pacquiao and his team from their training camp in General Santos City in the Philippines to Brisbane on an Airbus A330 with special livery. The aircraft will feature an image of the Filipino boxer next to the Pacman and Pound-for-Pound logos.

WBO world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao said, “In all my years of boxing, I have never been as motivated and fired up as this fight. With this agreement forged with AirAsia, I am inspired to give it all I got.

“Teaming up with AirAsia makes it more special because we have been accorded the respect of the fans. I have been called the People’s Champion and AirAsia is a world champion airline, and I’m extremely proud to be flying with the Asean world champions.”

AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said, “Manny is a huge inspiration to the Philippines and the whole of Asean. We want to show that this region makes world champions and no one is a better example of this Manny. Manny is like AirAsia, climbing to the top and staying there after all these years through blood, sweat and tears, and we are very honoured to be able to support him once again.”

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