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YOKOHAMA, Japan – Marlon Tapales intends to bring the fight to Naoya Inoue when they clash for the undisputed super bantamweight title on Tuesday, December 26, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
“I want to win and I can’t do that if I just defend. I would really fight it out,” said Tapales in Filipino on Sunday, December 24, during the final press conference of the historic bout staking Tapales’ World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation crowns. “I feel well and in prime condition. I’m ready and excited to meet him on top of the ring.”
Undaunted by the huge underdog tag, Tapales (37-3 with 19 knockouts) said he wants to win and give honor to his country by becoming the first Filipino undisputed boxing champion, a feat even the legendary eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao wasn’t able to achieve.
The unbeaten Inoue (25-0, 22 knockouts), the current pound-for-pound king, isn’t inclined to give Tapales the distinction.
Inoue sees no problem handling a southpaw like Tapales.
“I don’t feel this (being orthodox) is a disadvantage. I’ve done nothing special,” said Inoue.
MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons believes Tapales has a good chance of stunning Inoue and shocking the world.
“Tapales has put in the time, put in the work to become the first unified Filipino champion,” said Gibbons.
Elmer Fontanilla, Tapales’ trainer, agreed with Gibbons, saying his ward is in prime form.
Also present during the event held at the Yokohama Bay Sheraton and Towers were the revered Bob Arum, Top Rank Promotions’ big boss and co-promoter of Inoue; and SanMan Promotions head JC Manangquil, who manages Tapales.
The 92-year-old Arum said he’s looking for a sensational fight as Inoue is considered the world’s best fighter today who’ll live up to his “Japanese Monster” moniker and the determined and hard-punching Tapales, dubbed the Maranding Nightmare.
According to Arum, Inoue is already on the level – if not higher – with the best fighters he had worked with like the late great Muhammad Ali and Pacquiao.
There is no rematch clause in the Tapales-Inoue bout, although the Inoue camp said they will be willing to do it again if needed.
Both fighters said they are aware of what happened in Tokyo in 1990, when Buster Douglas, a 42-1 underdog knocked out the then undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
After answering the questions fielded by reporters, Inoue and Tapales posed together with their belts and briefly shook hands. – Rappler.com