Freeman Cebu Sports

Beaming with pride:Tapales, Gabunilas gracious in defeat

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman
Beaming with pride:Tapales, Gabunilas gracious in defeat
Marlon “Nightmare” Tapales of Sanman Gym and Johnpaul “Angas ng Cebu” Gabunilas of ARQ Stable pose for posterity with the members of their teams after their fights on Tuesday, December 26, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

CEBU, Philippines — Filipino boxers Marlon “Nightmare” Tapales of Sanman Gym based in General Santos City and Johnpaul “Angas ng Cebu” Gabunilas of ARQ Stable put up gallant fights, albeit in a losing effort to their respective Japanese rivals on Tuesday, December 26, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

Tapales bravely clawed his way back into the fight after being knocked down in round four before eventually being stopped by  the undefeated pound-for-pound great Naoya Inoue in the 10th round of their WBC, IBF, WBA, and WBO super bantamweight unification bout just two nights ago.

“Hindi man ako pinalad, ginawa ko lahat,” said Tapales during the post-fight press conference.

The vaunted Japanese “Monster” himself was all praises for Tapales.

“He (Tapales) was very tough with a strong mentality,” said Inoue, who is the only second boxer in history after Terence Crawford to become a two-weight undisputed champion of the world in the four-belt era.

“He never showed me fatigue or damage from his face, so I was quite surprised when he went down in the 10th round. It was one of the most intense fights I’ve ever had, probably, but my corner cheered me up and kept me focused throughout the bout,” Inoue added. “I am so happy that I got the knockout in such a decisive manner.”

Likewise, the 23-year-old Gabunilas dished out a remarkable performance that his fellow countrymen can be proud of in his first tour of duty on foreign shores.

Gabunilas gave his best before absorbing a fifth round stoppage at the hands of Kanamu Sakama on the undercard of the blockbuster Tapales-Inoue showdown.

Gabunilas and Sakama were actually in the middle of a heated exchange when Japanese referee Koji Tanaka suddenly stepped in to wave off the match and in the process award his compatriot with a TKO victory in 2:35 of round five.

It was palpably a premature stoppage that even Games and Amusements Board (GAB) chairman Atty. Richard Clarin who was watching at the ringside advised Team Gabunilas to file a protest before the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) regarding the questionable ending of what has been an exciting duel.

“Sayang kaayo. Nahiubos gyud ko nganong kalit nga gi-undang sa reperi ang duwa,” Gabunilas lamented.

Gabunilas and Tapales might not get the result they wanted but there were no traces of disappointment on their faces in the midst of temporary setbacks they suffered.

Gabunilas even congratulated and gamely posed for souvenir with his Japanese tormentor.

Moments later, Gabunilas and his trainer Eldo Cortes and conditioning coach Roger Justine Potot had a group picture with Team Tapales led by their promoter and manager JC Manangquil, still beaming with pride in a heart-warming gesture of sportsmanship that is being gracious in defeat.

“Move forward na lang ta, relaks seguro kadiyot unya come back stronger,” said Gabunilas. “Mapasalamaton kaayo sa akong ARQ family ilabi na ni sir Jason Arquisola ug sa iyang wife nga si mam Eva sa todo nilang suporta nako. Bisa’g napilde ko naa gihapon sila sa akong kiliran ug padayon nga misalig nako.”

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