Boxer Manny Pacquiao to run for Philippine president in 2022

Philippine boxing star Manny Pacquiao says he is to run for president in next year’s election.

The boxer Manny Pacquiao has said he will run for president of the Philippines next year, after railing against corruption in government and President Rodrigo Duterte’s “cozy” relationship with China.

One of the greatest boxers of all time and the only man to hold world titles in eight divisions, Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his political allies during the national assembly of the faction he leads in the ruling PDP-Laban party, days after a rival faction nominated Duterte’s longtime aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, as its presidential candidate.

That faction nominated Duterte for vice-president, a move that critics called a cynical ploy by Duterte to retain power. Duterte is prohibited by the constitution from running for a second six-year term as president.

Pacquiao, 42, presents a potential obstacle to Duterte’s succession plans as the race for the top post takes shape.

“I’m a fighter and will always be a fighter, inside and outside of the ring,” Pacquiao said at the event. “All my life, I haven’t backed down from any fight. Nothing is impossible if it’s ordained by God.”

Mr Pacquiao has pledged to campaign against poverty and corruption.

He is a popular figure in his home country but faces an uphill battle, trailing in opinion polls consistently topped by Sara Duterte-Carpio.

It is not clear which of the PDP-Laban factions will be recognised by the country’s electoral commission for the 2022 election.