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YOKOHAMA, Japan – It’s time for Marlon Tapales to prove that he doesn’t fear “Japanese Monster” Naoya Inoue.
Tapales, the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation champion, and Inoue, the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization titlist, both made weight for their super bantamweight unification bout on Tuesday, December 26, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
Reaping the benefits of a month-long training camp in Baguio City, Tapales checked in at 121.25 pounds, slightly lighter than Inoue, who stepped on the scales at 121.75 during the official weigh-in on Monday at the Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel.
Tapales has repeatedly claimed that Inoue’s skills and power, 25-0 with 22 knockouts, do not intimidate him a bit. On Sunday, Tapales, who holds a 37-3 record with 19 knockouts, went further, telling one of the key figures in his entourage “not to be afraid because he’ll be the one fighting.”
Tapales further added he’s excited to tangle with Inoue, acclaimed as the pound-for-pound king, and is eager to hand the Japanese his first loss.
Owing to his speed and punching prowess, Inoue has been tagged the -2000 favorite, meaning a P2,000 bet on the Japanese becomes P2,100 if he wins. A P100 wager on Tapales, on the other hand, becomes P1,000 if he stuns Inoue and becomes the first Filipino undisputed champion.
Inoue’s Filipino victims include Cris Omayao (2012), Jerson Mancio (2013), Warlito Parrenas (2015), and Michael Dasmarinas (2021), all of whom lost by knockout.
The “Japanese Monster” also beat future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire twice, the first by unanimous decision in 2019 and by knockout in 2022.
Despite Inoue’s sterling credentials, MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons is upbeat that Tapales could surmount the odds and “shock the world.”
After the weigh-in, Tapales started to rehydrate and slowly partook his recovery foods, including nilagang baka (beef soup) and tinola (ginger chicken soup). For the rest of the day, it will be rest and more meals for the pride of Tubod Lanao del Norte, under the watch of chief trainer Elmer Fontanilla.
According to Tapales’ manager and SanMan Promotions head Jc Manangquil, his ward will bulk up to at least 140 pounds (light welterweight) on Tuesday night.
Cebuano prospect John Paul “Angas ng Cebu” Gabunilas is battling unbeaten local Kanamu Sakana in the undercard. Gabunilas holds a 10-2 card with seven knockouts while Sakana is 8-0 with seven knockouts.
Owing to the significance of the Tapales-Inoue fight, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao gave MP Promotions CEO Joe Ramos the go-signal to show the 12-rounder live, with Cignal TV and ArenaPlus as partners.
Among those present in the weigh-in held Monday afternoon was Games and Amusements Board chairman Richard Santos Clarin, who said he wanted to show his support to Filipino boxers. – Rappler.com