MANILA, Philippines -- The Games and Amusements Board (GAB) on Wednesday announced that it has appealed to the World Boxing Association (WBA) to restore Manny Pacquiao as its welterweight champion.
This, after the boxing body last month declared the Filipino ring icon as a "champion in recess" due to his inactivity. Pacquiao won the "super" version of the WBA's welterweight in July 2019 after a split decision victory over American Keith Thurman.
He has not fought since, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic that scuppered his plans to return to the ring in 2020.
GAB chairman Baham Mitra has appealed to the WBA on his behalf, sending a two-page letter to president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza requesting the organization to shed light on the matter.
"GAB is mandated by law to champion the rights of every Filipino professional boxer at all times. That is why we are appealing to WBA to reconsider its decision," Mitra explained.
Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas had been promoted as the WBA's "super" welterweight champion.
Mitra is hopeful, however, that their appeal to the WBA will prosper and Pacquiao will be reinstated to his position as full champion.
"We are studying the WBA rules and we want to assist our good senator who may have to fight next," said Mitra.
"Also, we want to know from our partners in the WBA what particular documentation that we must have to comply with as WBA requirements, to regain the WBA belt, in case our Pinoy boxing champ opts to," he added.
Pacquiao announced on Wednesday that he is back in training, although it remains to be seen who he will fight when he steps back into the ring. The "Pacman" has been linked to bouts against MMA superstar Conor McGregor as well as up-and-coming American boxer Ryan Garcia.