Pacquiao fights unbeaten French

Former eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao is set to make a ring return against French superstar Zaber Zayanin in a non-sanctioned eight-round exhibition bout tentatively set mid-February at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The 43-year-old boxing icon last fought in August of last year, bowing to Cuban Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas.

“I personally negotiated with the senator together with my team and after months of talks, we finally agreed to a face off next year. He already signed the contract so it is a go,” said Zayani who was accompanied by Filipino business manager Nico Rojas.

Zayani said Pacquiao, through the help of Luis “Chavit” Singson, agreed to use the regular eight-ounce gloves.

“Call it an exhibition or something but when the senator signed the deal, I told him to prepare well because I’m going to give him a real fight. He then told me, ‘you better be prepared’,” disclosed Zayani.

A native of Saint-Martin-d’Hères, Isère, France, the 31-year-old Zayani once served as Pacquiao’s sparmate when the Filipino boxing icon trained for his 12-round world welterweight bout opposite Keith Thurman in July 2019.

Zayani, who signed a five-year multi-million promotional deal with Saudi Prince Al-Walid Ben Talal, is an unbeaten lightweight contender with a record of 18-0, 11 knockouts. Talal has assigned Abdullah Al Murad, through their entity Elite Sports Athletes, to be at the forefront of the momentous event.

“I was honest with the senator that I’m looking at this as my biggest break which I will surely maximize. I aim to create a buzz and become a household name. Sure, the organizers are calling this an exhibition but for me, it’s a chance to exhibit my talent as a future world champion,” Zayani added.

Just last month, Pacquiao signed up for a six-round exhibition match against Korean Youtuber DK Yoo which is scheduled on 10 December in Seoul, South Korea.

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