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MANILA, Philippines – Marlon Tapales heads for Japan on Tuesday, December 19, feeling confident that he’d be able to surmount the odds in his historic unification bout against Naoya Inoue on December 26 at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
“I believe I have good chances of winning because I trained real hard for this fight,” Tapales said in Filipino, referring to the 12-round bout where his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation and Inoue’s World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization super bantamweight crowns are at stake.
Owing to his sterling 25-0 record with 22 knockouts and pound-for-pound king accolade, Inoue is tagged the huge favorite over Tapales, who spent training camp in Baguio City with coach Elner Fontanilla, strength and conditioning trainer Quincy Hatcher, and the guidance of Sanman Promotions head JC Manangquil, his manager and promoter.
Tapales, who totes a 37-3 record with 19 knockouts, said Baguio’s cold weather and high altitude were just what he needed to prepare for his biggest fight thus far. If he wins, Tapales would enshrine himself as the first Filipino unified champion.
Aware of Inoue’s punching power, Tapales thinks the fight won’t go the full 12 rounds.
“Most likely, somebody will fall,” said Tapales. “It’s either him or me.”
“Inoue may be the favorite, but with my training and preparation, I think I would be able to hurdle him,” said Tapales, who bared that he’s between three and five pounds over the 122-pound limit.
According to Fontanilla, Tapales has trained for four months, including two months in Las Vegas, and has sparred over 200 rounds.
“He’s ready. Only the fight is lacking,” Fontanilla said of Tapales, who showed his power in a short media workout at the Elorde Plus Gym in BF Homes, Parañaque.
MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions head Sean Gibbons, who co-promotes the pride of Tubod, Lanao del Norte, said Tapales is primed to “stun and shock the world.”
Also present was Joe Ramos, who owns the local rights of the year’s biggest fight featuring a Filipino. – Rappler.com