Boxing can be an odd sport at times for many reasons. Last night, or rather this morning as it turned out to be, we had one clear case of poor promotional activity as the PBC show the Microsoft Theatre in LA ran into the early of Sunday, local time. Not only did it run to a stupid time, but many of the most interesting match ups were off air. In fact a full shows worth of good fights went unaired and took place after mid-night in what could go down as one of the most bizarre and stupid promotional decisions of the year so far, and this is a year where the WBSS has ended up putting Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] against Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12) in Glasgow!
Among those unaired yet compelling match ups was an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator pitting former champion Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑] against the always exciting Cesar Juarez (23-7, 17). It was a match up that promised so much, and deserved an audience based on the reputation of the fighters alone. Sadly it came after the main show, fans had mostly left and media were the key source of information on the bout.
The fans, the fighters and the media had all predicted a war. The styles should have given us something special, something worthy of a TV audience, or at very least a streaming audience on the promoters own website. Sadly though there was nothing, nothing other than the reports, tweets and news from journalists, for what was a significant bout for both men, and for the Super Bantamweight title.
According to most the fight was action packed early on, but messy and a headclash in round 2 left both with cuts around the eyes. Iwasa looked to control the distance but instead it was Juarez who had managed to set the early pace, and setting it high. He was getting inside and forcing Iwasa to have problems, but the success took a toll on the Mexican who began to feel the tempo earlier than Iwasa. By the middle rounds Iwasa was starting to take advantage of the tiring Mexican, landing left hands and began to pick his spots better, turning the tide and taking advantage as Juarez began to flag more. Then both began to tire in what was becoming a messy, gruelling affair between the determined warriors. As the action got messier, the cuts got worse, and forced an early conclusion to the bout, due to Juarez's cut.
They went to the scorecards which had Iwasa winning 97-93 and 98-92, to over-rule a 95-95 even card. Given the details reported by various journalists and sources, it seems the cards were debatable, though the media at ringside media do seem to have been relatively split. Though questions have to be asked of the promotion again, in having the judges working 4 or 5 bouts on the same night, split by several hours and whether fatigue of judges is a good thing. Judges doing multiple fights is no problem, but having them spread over such a length of time is a big worry in terms of consistency.
Also on the card, in regards to an Asian interest, was former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (32-2, 15), who stopped Fernando Vargas Parra (34-15-3, 23) in the 5th round to continue his climb towards a second world title.
A lot of respect for the likes of Gabe Oppenheim and Steve Kim for giving updates on the card via twitter through what appears to have been a marathon night of boxing, frustration and peculiar promotional planning. A loss of respect however for the promoter, who had the talent to run two different shows here.
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)
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