Filipino boxers

Tapales tackles ‘dangerous’ Teshigawara in supporting bout of Donaire-Gaballo tiff

Roy Luarca

SEEKING GLORY. Marlon Tapales aims to become a world champion again.

Alvin S. Go/Rappler

Filipino Marlon Tapales faces a tough test against Japanese Hiroaki Teshigawara in the title eliminator for the IBF super bantamweight crown

Marlon Tapales’ quest for another world title will either be boosted or get stymied when he tangles with Hiroaki Teshigawara on December 11 (December 12, Manila time) at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The Japanese has transformed into a knockout artist and is sure to give Tapales a tough test in their eliminator for the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight crown.

Known mainly as a technical fighter, Teshigawara has gained power and has stopped his last six victims en route to a 22-2-2 slate with 15 knockouts.

Tapales, a former World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion, owns a 34-3 record with 17 knockouts.

In his last fight in November 2020, Tapales knocked out veteran countryman Eden Sonsona to bounce back from an 11th-round knockout defeat to Japanese Ryosuke Iwasa in December 2019 in Brooklyn.

Now under head trainer Ernel Fontanilla and Ting Ariosa, Tapales is deep in his preparations in Los Angeles, mainly at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood and two other gyms.

Teshigawara, who at 5-foot-7 is taller than Tapales by three inches, is fighting outside of Japan and even Tokyo for the first time as all of his previous fights took place at the Korakuen Hall.

The 29-year-old Tapales and Teshigawara, 31, have a common opponent in Yoshi Omori. Tapales stopped Omori twice in 2015 (second round) and 2017 (11th), while Teshigawara did the trick in round 12 in 2019.

Teshigawara counts four Filipinos (Glenn Sumanguit, Junny Salogaol, Jetro Pabustan, Jason Canoy) among his victims, with only Canoy going the distance in 2018.

According to Sanman Promotions head JC Manangquil, Tapales is now ready for the fight serving as main support of the Nonito Donaire-Reymart Gaballo tussle for the World Boxing Council bantamweight belt.

“He (Tapales) is just eight pounds over and will make weight once he goes on diet,” said Manangquil, who’ll be flying to the United States late November in support of Gaballo and Tapales. –