Victory on points for Manny Pacquiao against Keith Thurman

Manny Pacquiao salutes the crowd
Manny Pacquiao salutes the crowd

Manny Pacquiao claimed the WBA welterweight title after defeating previously-unbeaten Keith Thurman on a split decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The 40-year-old Pacquiao, who went into the fight as the WBA regular champion, knocked down Thurman in the opening round but ended up having to go the distance before overcoming the reigning WBA super champion.

Two judges scored the fight 115-112 in favour of the eight-division world champion from the Philippines, with the other finding in favour of American Thurman, 114-113.

Pacquiao now boasts a record of 62 wins from 71 fights, while the defeat is the first for 30-year-old Thurman after 29 victories in his professional career.

He appeared to rule out a possible showdown with Amir Khan in November after, at 40, becoming the oldest welterweight champion in history.

Khan claimed earlier in the week that he and Pacquiao had both signed up for a fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on November 8.

Pacquiao, who defeated Adrien Broner in January and has not fought three times in the same year since 2008, is a senator in the Philippines.

"I think my next fight will probably be next year because I am busy this year," Pacquiao told Fox Sports in his post-fight ring interview.

"After this fight I am going back to the Philippines to start working in the Senate."

Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan: Look set to fight in Saudi Arabia
Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan

Pacquiao said he planned to be ringside for the welterweight world unification fight between Errol Spence Jr and Shawn Porter in Los Angeles in September.

Britain's two-time world champion Khan bounced back from his defeat to Terence Crawford in April by winning the WBC international welterweight title after stopping Billy Dib in Jeddah last week.

Khan then told PA: "The next fight is going to be back in Saudi Arabia, it is going to be in Riyadh this time and it is going to be on November 8.

"Hopefully it could be the Manny Pacquiao fight, we have both signed and the fight is done and hopefully he gets past his fight on the weekend then we go and do that fight."

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