Boxing News 2014: Manny Pacquiao Picks Jessica Sanchez to Sing Philippine National Anthem at April 12 Bout; Ashanti to Sing U.S. National Anthem Instead

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By Vittorio Hernandez | March 16, 2014 10:45 AM EST

Eight-division title holder has picked American Idol 1st runner-up Jessica Sanchez to render the Philippine National Anthem at his anticipated April 12 rematch against American boxer Timothy Bradley.

It won't be pop singer Ashanti who will sing the national anthem, as previously announced by The Bleacher Report, but she will instead sing the U.S. National Anthem.

Pacquiao's choice of Jessica is not surprising, because aside from being a fellow Filipino, she also sang the American and Philippine national anthems at his match against Brandon Rios in November in Macau, China. Pacquiao won the bout which coincided with the release of Jessica's single Lead Me Home in which the proceeds were donated to Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) victims.

The Filipino boxing champ joined Jessica after the match in her two-week charity trip to the Philippines organised by the Starkey Foundation.

It would make more sense for Ashanti to render the U.S. National Anthem because she would likely not be able to pronounce correctly some of the Filipino words in the Philippine national anthem.

Top Rank confirmed in a press release on March 4 that Ashanti, who ranked No 1 in six Billboard charts simultaneously for her single Foolish, will instead sing The Star-Spangled Banner.

But even if she will sing the American national anthem, Ashanti - who counts 1976 Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr and light heavyweight contender Dyah Davis as her family - will cheer for Pacquaio whom she said is her idol.

Ashanti was quoted by Rappler as saying, "When I found out we were sitting next to each other courtside at the Knicks game, I said to my Dad, 'We should take a picture!' I told Manny I was a big fan and was so excited when he asked me to sing the National Anthem at his upcoming fight and I can't wait. I actually love boxing! Manny's such a champion and I can't wait to cheer him out."

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