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Sports

New dawn for Tapales

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Former WBO bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales is on a mission to sit on the throne again, this time in the superbantamweight division. He’ll take a big step towards achieving his goal with a win over OPBF ruler Hiroaki Teshigawara of Japan in a 12-round IBF eliminator at the Virgin Hotel, Las Vegas, on Nov. 27. The Japanese is rated No. 3 and Tapales No. 4 in the IBF 122-pound ladder with the No. 1 and No. 2 slots vacant. The winner of their battle will challenge IBF/WBA super champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan.

Tapales, 29, took the WBO crown the hard way, surviving two trips to the canvas before decking Pungluang Sor Singyu twice en route to scoring a stoppage in the 11th round before a hostile crowd in Thailand in 2016. In his first defense a year later, Tapales was stripped of the crown for weighing two pounds over the limit but went on to halt Japanese challenger Shohei Omori in Osaka. He took a 1 1/2 year layoff then came back to win four of his next five fights, losing only to Japan’s Ryosuke Iwasa on an 11th-round TKO in New York. With the win over Tapales, Iwasa earned a shot at Akhmadaliev’s belt and last April, was stopped by the Uzbek in the fifth round in Tashkent. Now, Tapales has the opportunity to exact revenge on another Japanese fighter and gain a crack at the world title.

“Marlon is 80 percent ready,” said coach Ting Ariosa. “He’s been training with me and coach Ernel Fontanilla in Los Angeles for three months. Sparring days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Wild Card Gym and he’s now doing eight rounds per session. Basing on facts like his work ethic, sparring performance, ability to listen, study and learn the right skills and how to apply those necessary skills for a specific opponent, he’ll be 100 percent ready on Nov. 27. He can possibly surprise much more impress the boxing world.”

Tapales’ manager JC Manangquil said this is his revenge fight. “Marlon wants to prove to everyone that the fight with Iwasa was his off-night and he can still be a world champion once again,” said Manangquil who’s based in General Santos City. “He’s with new trainers now with Ernel and Ting so he’s in a new environment. He’ll be a different fighter, always open to learn.” Tapales’ record is 33- 3, with 16 KOs and he’s won 13 of his last 14 since 2013. Teshigawara, 31, has beaten four Filipinos – Junny Salogaol, Jetro Pabustan, Jason Canoy, Glenn Suminguit – on the way to compiling a 21- 2-2 mark, with 14 KOs.

Working out with Tapales at Wild Card is another Manangquil fighter Jade Bornea, the IBF’s No. 7 superflyweight contender. Manangquil said Bornea has been picked to face No. 3 Mohammed Obbadi of Morocco in a title eliminator with the date and site still pending. Bornea has a 16-0 record, with 10 KOs while Obbadi’s slate is 22-1, with 13 KOs. “Bornea has been training with us in LA for about 45 days and started sparring a week ago,” said Ariosa. “He has sparred a total of 12 rounds so far. He’s shaking off ring rust after more than a year of no boxing activity. He’s a rare boxing talent because he can comfortably switch from southpaw to orthodox whenever needed. He just needs to be in top mental, physical and spiritual shape to be ready to fight anyone at 115 pounds.”

MARLON TAPALES
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