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Pacquiao Olympics boxing bid knocked out: official

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s bid to fight at the Paris Games has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee, a Filipino official said Sunday.

Manila had made a “special request” to the IOC last year seeking permission for the former world champion in multiple weight divisions, to box in Paris despite a rule setting the age limit for Olympic boxers at 40.

Pacquiao, now 45, retired from professional boxing in 2021 to make a failed tilt at the Philippines presidency.

The Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino said he was formally notified that the Olympic governing body decided to stick to its “rules”.

“What a waste, it could have been a sure podium or first ever gold for the country” in Olympic boxing, Tolentino told AFP in a text message.

Pacquiao fighting in Paris would have been an “additional blockbuster in the Paris Olympics, but we have to follow the rules set forth by the IOC,” Tolentino added.

Pacquiao’s spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Pacquiao, who had never competed in the Olympics, told AFP last year he was “not too old” to take on younger boxers.

The Philippines had last year asked the IOC for what is called a “universality place” for Pacquiao.

Universality places are given to athletes from countries that struggle to secure slots in the Olympics through normal qualification channels.

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