Tapales knocks out Omori again, but title remains vacant
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Marlon Tapales may have lost his WBO bantamweight title on the scales, but he'll return to the Philippines with a victory.
The Filipino boxer dropped Shohei Omori near the end of the tenth round and had Omori out on his feet as the bell saved him. Sensing his opponent was ready to be taken out, Tapales rushed across the ring at the beginning of the round and laid in enough punches to convince the referee to stop the fight at 16 seconds into the eleventh round on Sunday, April 23 at the EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.
It was Tapales' second win over Omori, as he knocked him out in December of 2015 in just two rounds. All 3 judges had Tapales ahead by one point, 95-94, at the time of stoppage, according to Boxrec.
Tapales (30-2, 13 knockouts) had missed the 118-pound limit by nearly two pounds the previous day, meaning that only Omori (18-2, 13 KOs), who weighed 117.5, could win the title. The Tapales win means the belt is now vacant.
Just getting to the ring was already an accomplishment for Tapales, 25, of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. After failing on the second attempt to make weight, co-manager James Salud tells Rappler that Tapales was unable to keep food down, and vomited a few hours later after trying to eat.
"We were a bit worried before the fight," admits Salud, the son of Tapales' head manager Rex "Wakee" Salud.
"It's just heart and will. He hates losing."
The effects of his struggles to make were evident as he lacked spring in his legs through the second half of the fight. Though still able to press the action, Tapales fought at a more measured pace, and was briefly in trouble in the fifth round as Omori opened up offensively. Tapales continued to pressure, slipping punches with his upper body movement before finding the shot that scored the knockdown and set up the fight's conclusion.
Salud says that Tapales will begin campaigning at 122 pounds.
With the title vacant, the WBO elevated the Arthur Villanueva-Zolani Tete fight on Saturday night in England from an elimination bout to a vacant interim title fight. Tete won by unanimous decision, leaving him without a champion to face. An email has been sent to WBO president Francisco "Paco" Varcarcel seeking comment on the status of that championship was not immediately returned.
The fight was aired live in Japan on Tokyo Broadcasting System, but was not televised in the Philippines. – Rappler.com