Legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao has officially announced he will run for president in the Philippines next year after calling out leader Rodrygo Duterte.
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 long-time aide, Senator Christopher "Bong" Go as its presidential candidate.
'SAD TO SEE': Evander Holyfield's horror return a 'stain on boxing'
That faction nominated Duterte for vice president, a move that critics called a cynical ploy by Duterte to retain power.
This is because the constitution doesn't allow Duterte to run for a second six-year term as president.
Go declined the nomination, but the rift between Pacquiao and Duterte factions has escalated.
Pacquiao, who most recently lost his comeback fight to Yordenis Ugas, said he would do everything in his power to represent his nation.
"I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring," Pacquiao, 42, said in a live-steam.
"I am accepting your nomination as candidate for president of the Republic of the Philippines."
Manny Pacquiao's uphill battle for presidency
The legendary boxer is the nation's biggest athlete with the country often coming to a standstill when the 62-8-2 fighter takes to the ring.
However, despite his popularity, Pacquiao trails the front-runners in opinion polls that have been topped consistently by Duterte's daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.
In July, Pacquiao was voted out as PDP-Laban leader, weeks after challenging Duterte over his position on China and record on fighting corruption, but his ouster was rejected by his faction.
Pacquiao, once a close ally of Duterte, had said more than 10 billion pesos ($200 million) in pandemic aid intended for poor families was unaccounted for, adding this was just one discovery in his planned corruption investigation.
His anti-corruption crusade comes as the Senate has opened an investigation into alleged overpricing of medical supplies and equipment purchased under the government’s pandemic response programme.
In the sporting world, Pacqiauo remained tight-lipped on whether we would see him again in the boxing ring after his shock loss to Ugas.
While he alluded that he could hang up his gloves if ran for president, Pacquiao hasn't yet made a decision.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.