After a 17 month lay off we got the chance to see former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (31-2, 14) return to the ring today as he took on Tanzania's Goodluck Mrema (22-4, 12) on ESPN5. The fight was Tapales' first since stopping Japan's Shohei Omori in March 2017, in what was their second bout, and saw him move up from Bantamweight to Featherweight. The move up, due to issues making 118lbs, had seen him losing the WBO title on the scales and deciding to totally skip the Super Bantamweight division.
Sadly the move in weight from Tapales was coming against a fellow fighter who was moving up in weight, with Mrema himself being a small Bantamweight for much of his career. Back in June Mrema was stopped in the UK by former amateur standout Lee McGregor, in just his 4th professional bout, though lasted into the 3rd round with the Scottish prospect.
The fight started with both men jostling for ring position, though it seemed like Tapales was looking to shake some ring rust rather than make an out and out statement. Sadly for the Filipino fighter however he wasn't able to get much ring time, landing a thunderbolt right hook after about 2 minutes of the round. The shot, one of the best we'll see for a while, completely disconnected Mrema from his senses and the Tanzanian took the 10 count whilst flat on the canvas.
The official time time of 2:10 won't massively help the former world champion prepare for a big bout down the line, but he'll be happy to get back in the ring after such a long break, and given how little punishment he took here he could well be back in action before the year is out. For Mrema we do wonder whether he'd be best off plying his trade on the Tanzanian domestic scene as he is now 0-4 in bouts away from home, with 3 of those defeats coming by stoppage.
In July 2016 Filipino fighter Marlon Tapales, (now 30-2, 13) claimed the WBO Bantamweight title with a remarkable come from behind stoppage win of Pungluang Sor Singyu, pulling himself off the canvas twice in round 5 to stop the Thai in round 11. It seemed like Tapales was going to become one of the new faces of Filipino boxing.
Sadly for Tapales he would be stripped of the title the following year when he failed to make weight for his second bout against Shohei Omori [大森 将平], being stripped of the WBO title ahead of his first defense despite stopping Omori in round 11.
The Omori rematch came in April 2017 and since the Tapales hasn't fought. The chance of becoming of the top Filipino fighters has seemingly vanished and his career really hasn't worked out as he'd wished, with a cancellation of a comeback bout earlier this year.
Thankfully it now looks like things are sorted and sources are now reporting that Tapales is set to return to the ring on September 30th in Quezon City.
The under-rated Filipino is set to face Tanzania's Goodluck Mrema (22-3, 12), who has a good looking record on paper but is 0-3 outside of Tanzania including an opening round loss in the Philippines to Jeo Santisima and a June 2018 loss to Scottish prospect Lee McGregor.
This bout is set to be one of the lead supporting bouts to the contest between WBA "interim" Bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo (19-0, 16) and Tanzanian visitor Julias Kisarawe (29-6-1, 15). That bout will be Gaballo's first since his title winning performance in March, against Stephon Young whilst Kisarawe, who is suspended by the Hungarian Boxing Association, will be looking to score his first win outside of Tanzania. Notably Kisarawe is 0-4 outside of his homeland, including losses on the road to Prince Patel, Jason Moloney and Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym. This bout has been reported as a defense of the interim title by Gaballo, though that's currently unclear given that Kisarawe was stopped by Patel back in July.
We would like to thank Ian Melodillar for bringing this contest to our attention
Last April fight fans in Japan saw a compelling bout between Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13) and Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平], with Tapales stopping Omori in 11 rounds and denying Omori the WBO Bantamweight title, which had been stripped from Omori due to a failure to make weight. The bout was the second between the two men, and the second stoppage win for Tapales.
Surprisingly neither man has fought since that bout, but both are now looking likely to return to action, and could be doing so within just a few days of each other.
In recent days it's been reported that Tapales would be returning to the ring on March 17th, fighting against Indonesian foe Rivo Rengkung (36-24-6, 14) in Victoria, Australia. On paper it's clear the bout is an easy return to the ring for the former champion, but a bout to shake some ring rust after a very long, and frustrating, break from action.
In a recent interview with boxmob.jp Omori stated that he was also looking for a March ring return, though had no date or opponent for his return. He has been inactive due to needing surgery following the loss to Tapales, and spent time in hospital whilst recovering from a broken jaw. He is now healed up and appears to be looking forward to his next bout.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
This past Sunday we saw Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13) score an 11th round TKO against Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平]. What we weren't aware of at the time was the injuries suffered by Omori, who has been in hospital following the fighter and, today he recieved surgery.
The gutsy fighter suffered a fracture to the right side of his jaw, with the injury being so bad as to push some of his teeth out of place, a result of Tapales' power.
The surgery saw plates and wires being being placed in Omori's face to help with recovery from the injury and he's expected to need about a month to recovery from the injuries. Of course just because he's going to need a month to recover from the injury that doesn't mean he's going to be fighting fit in a similar amount of time and it could well be a number of months before he returns to the gym.
We'd like to wish Omori a speed recovery and we're looking forward to seeing him return to the ring later in the year. As for Tapales the news is that he will be moving up in weight, and the speculation is that he will be targetting a world title fight in the near future. The rumour we've heard is that to acclimatise to the Super Bantamweight division he'll be looking to face Cesar Juarez (20-5, 15), and in all honesty that may be one of the most exciting that could be made at 122lbs.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Yesterday Japanese fight fans had the chance to watch a world title double header, and it a lot of those fans took their opportunity to watch with the show being a major TV ratings success.
The main event of the show saw WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13) [井岡一翔] record his 5th defense of the title as he out pointed the tough Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-5, 38) [นกน้อย ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท]. The ratings in Japan were genuinely huge, with an average rating of 12.9% in the Kanto region, watching on TBS, and 15.6% watching in Kansai, on MBS. Those averages look great, with other figures reporting a high of 19.2% in Kansai and an average of 17% in Hokkaido alone.
In terms of raw numbers that was about 8,000,000 on average!
The chief support bout, which saw Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13) score an 11th round TKO against Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平], also got impressive numbers, with 7.1% of the audience from Kanto and 9.6% from Kansai. Those numbers mean more than 5,000,000 viewers tuned in to the bout.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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