The WBO welterweight champion revealed via his Twitter page on Sunday that he will take to the ring later this year.
Reports have suggested the 38-year-old’s advisor recently held meetings in the UAE but the fight venue has yet to be announced.
News of the bout is sure to delight a large Filipino community in the Emirates but Pacquiao’s opponent for the April showdown has yet to be revealed.
Are you excited to see the eight division world champion on UAE soil?
The New Balance Beach Run Series, which is presented by Daman Activelife and supported by the Dubai Sports Council, once again provided the perfect opportunity for runners of all ages and abilities to kick off their weekend with some exercise.
After successful Beach Run Series events in Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi in October and November 2016 respectively, the Dubai run completed the current series and is still the UAE’s only beach run event.
With three distances and running categories on offer for participants: 7.2km (serious), 3.6km (fun) and 1.8km (family) there was a run for everyone to enjoy as hundreds of people packed the Festival Village bright and early ahead of the 9am start time.
And before the runners worked up a sweat on the sand, Fitness First Middle East were on hand to provide an expert warm-up and ensure everyone was ready to tackle their respective distance.
Under the shadow of Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab, Sunset Beach was a sea of orange as runners wore their New Balance t-shirts, which were part of the event registration package.
Post-race, each and every runner received a finisher’s medal and were able to post about their run using the social media picture frame.
Food, drink, music and plenty of activities were then on offer for runners to enjoy in the village.
The Kenyan edged the time set by compatriot Florence Kiplagat in Barcelona two years ago by crossing the finish line in 1:05:06 at the 11th edition of the event.
Not only did Jepchirchir enter the record books, but she outduelled three-time RAK champion Mary Keitany, who hadn’t lost a half marathon since 2007.
The 35-year-old Keitany finished in second in 1:05:13, which was still good for a personal best and the fourth-fastest time ever.
Joyciline Jepkosgei ensured a clean sweep for the Kenyans on the podium by crossing in third at 1:06:08, while Jemima Sumgong and three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba rounded out the top five.
In setting a new benchmark, Jepchirchir ran a negative split, taking 15:40 to complete the first 5km, followed by 15:28 to 10km, 15:25 to 15km and 15:09 to the 20km point.
The 23-year-old appeared to give it everything she had as right when she crossed the finish line, she collapsed and had to be carried away, her body limp after doing what no woman had ever done before.
“It feels good, I’m happy. I thank God because I was not expecting to break the world record,” Jepchirchir told Sport360.
“I didn’t know. I was just concentrating on my pace and following [the pace-setter]. I didn’t even concentrate on the front or the time, so I didn’t know. I only knew when I was finishing that I had broke the world record.”
Jepchirchir was part of a three-woman leading pack – along with Keitany and Jepkosgei, as well as a pace-setter – who broke away around five miles into the race.
The trio only created more distance between them and the rest of the field as the race wore on, with Jepkosgei first dropping behind after 15km and Keitany lagging not long after, all while Jepchirchir kept up with the pace-setter.
“The competition was strong. You know, Mary Keitany is strong also,” Jepchirchir said of what was arguably the greatest women’s half marathon field ever assembled.
For the men, Bedan Karoki couldn’t match his countrywoman’s feat, but had a fine showing of his own that resulted in a first-place finish 47 seconds off the world record pace.
The IAAF World Half Marathon Championship silver medallist admitted afterwards to having doubts over his fitness and when he vomited several times following his finish, it was easy to see why. But Karoki would not be denied as he beat runner-up Yigrem Demelash of Ethiopia and third-placed Augustine Choge of Kenya.
“When I was doing rest intervals, I was feeling a bit tired. Last night, the way I was feeling, I was not believing I could run the way I did today. It was about believing in myself that I could do it.” Karoki told Sport360.
Even when he opened up a lead over Demelash and Choge around the 15km mark, he was looking over his shoulders as if surprised to be ahead. His fellow competitors would catch up to him, but Karoki’s attack in the final 2km proved decisive and earned him the victory.
The 26-year-old believes the flat and fast course could soon produce a men’s world record as well.
“It was in good shape,” he said. “This course is very good to break the world record.”