By Ron Shillingford
Manny Pacquiao, the legendary Filipino boxer, arrives in Cayman today (Friday) to host a boxing show at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Saturday, Jan. 7.
The Island Rumble Boxing Challenge is organised by SDKA International and the local promoter is entrepreneur Matthew Leslie, managing partner of CMG Events.
Mr. Pacquiao is one of the greatest boxers of all-time. The 38-year-old maestro is the first and only eight-division world champion. He has won 11 major world titles an is the current WBO welterweight champion and has won 59 of his 67 bouts.
He will also visit Health City Cayman Islands and attend a groundbreaking event for the official opening of a new boxing gym in Bodden Town.
It’s not only his boxing prowess that makes him a worldwide celebrity; in his homeland “Pacman” is a popular senator and renowned philanthropist. He is regarded as a shoo-in to one day be the president of the Philippines.
Also featured on Island Rumble will be the undefeated Luis “Cuba” Arias, the current IBF and WBO middleweight champion. Local acts will perform before the boxing commences.
The ring being brought in for the event is sponsored by SDKA International, a Dubai-based commodities firm. After the event, the ring and other equipment will be donated for use in the new boxing gym.
Mr. Leslie said: “What it means to have Manny Pacquaio here is amazing. This is putting the icing on the cake on just how big sporting tourism is becoming in Cayman and how big it is going. For us to be able to host a legend like Manny and future legends like Luis Arias and to have all the celebrities and millionaires coming in, it’s crazy. It shows that Cayman can put on world class, global events and do it right.”
Mr. Leslie added that he is looking forward to Mr. Pacquiao enjoying his stay so much here he will be going on social media and Tweeting about how wonderful it is.
He added: “That will mean more people learning about the Cayman Islands and opening the gateways for more A-list celebrities and sports athletes like Manny and those before him like Usain Bolt come and host events and be a part of the Island fabric.”
Fighters from the U.S., Jamaica and Bahamas will take on local amateur boxers and there will be a couple of white collar bouts.
Dariel Ebanks v Israel Johnson (Bahamas) light-heavyweight
Dan Hewitt-dean v Ricardo Beckford (Jamaica) light-heavyweight
Alexander Smith v Opponent to be announced
Chambria Dalhouse v Kerron Taylor (Jamaica) women’s featherweight
White collar exhibition
Simon Hurry (Collas Grill) v Lee Murray (Andros Group)
James Burch (Walkers) v Logan Chinoy (The Gym)