A Filipina boxer will see action in Senator Manny Pacquiao’s next fight as one of the eight-division champion’s undercards.
Gretchen Abaniel, the reigning Women International Boxing Association (WIBA) champion, was promised by Pacquiao to be one of his undercards in his coming fight in June or July.
And the 31-year old boxer from Puerto Princesa City in Palawan hopes to get a fight with World Boxing Organization (WBO) women’s straw weight titleholder Nao Ikeyama of Japan for a unification fight.
While the camp of Pacquiao is still searching for his opponent, Abaniel is keen on arranging the title duel with the 47-year old Japanese fighter.
“I really want to challenge the WBO straw weight champion Nao Ikeyama of Japan and I already started my training here in Sydney, Australia last week,” Abaniel (17-8 win-loss record with six knockouts) told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Friday.
Abaniel is also the titleholder in the Women International Boxing Federation and Global Boxing Union Female world minimum weight class.
During her visit with Pacquiao, she was asked if she’s fit enough to have a fight in June or July and Abaniel nodded.
“He (Pacquiao) assured me that I’d be included in his fight card. I’m just going to wait for the contract,” said Abaniel. “I’m very thankful to Manny because it is really an honor to fight in his card. It’s a dream come true for me.”
Abaniel won her last two fights against Turkish Oezlem Sahin via split decision last November 7, 2015 in Germany and Thai Saowaluk Nareepangsri via unanimous decision last July 2 in Australia.
The WBO champion Ikeyama won seven of his last eight fights including a technical knockout win against fellow Japanese Ayaka Miyao last December 13 in Japan.
Ikeyama holds 18-3-2 win-loss-draw record with five knockouts.