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
The WBA have had a reputation for creating too many titles, muddying the waters of what real world class is, and leading many to almost ignore anything but their Super Titles. Whilst that's a fantastic attitude to the WBA's almost offensive title creation scheme it does need to be said that the proliferation of titles does give more fighters a chance to make a name for themselves. It makes it hard to know who is really world class, but does give leeser known fighters a chance to put themselves in the mix and in some cases that's a good thing, even if the way the WBA does it is pathetic and wrong.
The latest fighter to claim one of the WBA's "interim" titles was one fighter who took the opportunity with both hands and put himself straight into the mix of his division.
That fighter is unbeaten Filipino 21 year old Reymart Gaballo (19-0, 16) who claimed the WBA "interim" Bantamweight title last night with an impressive and dominant decision win over Stephon Young (17-1-3, 7).
Gaballo, a relative unknown out of the Philippines, dropped Young in round 3 and never looked like losing from then on, as he took the decision with scores of 117-110, twice, and 118-109.
With the win Gaballo puts himself in the mix for a fight at the "Super" champion Ryan Burnett, or the "Regular" title, which Jamie McDonnell will defend against Naoya Inoue in May.
Whilst we do despise the WBA's multiple title system, for Gaballo right now the win is a career changing one and the 21 year old is now in the mix for huge fights. It would have made more sense for the WBA to have held the bout as a world title eliminator, but the reality is that for the fighter the win is key, and the doors that win opens up really are career changing.
Interestingly on the same card Filipino Mike Plania (14-1, 7) lost a decision to former world champion Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9), despite dropping Payano in round 3, and Kazakh puncher Mussa Tursyngaliyev (7-0, 6) stopped Luis Hinojosa (31-14-0-2, 18) in 3 rounds, to claim the vacant WBA-NABA USA Featherweight title.
(Image courtesy of Sanman Promotions)
The WBA have got themselves a reputation over the last few years as being an organisation which likes to creat as many world champions as possible. They have regularly spoken about reducing their number of world titles, but have done little to actually bring that to action and instead have continued to sanction bouts for any number world titled belts. They have included "Super", "Unified", "Regular", "Interim" and even "Champion in Recess" titles. Essentially the WBA have got the ability to award 5 different "world" titles to fighters, in what potentially makes a mockery of the sport at the "world level".
The latest "world" title bout that appears to have been sanctioned by the WBA is a WBA "interim" Bantamweight title fight, which will pit unbeaten Filipino Reymart Gaballo (18-0, 16) against unbeaten American Stephon Young (17-0-3, 7) on March 23rd. That's despite the fact the WBA have a fit "Super" champion in Ryan Burnett, who will defend that title on March 21st against #1 contender Yonfrez Parejo, they also have a fit and healthy "Regular" champion, Jamie McDonnell, who is being linked to returning a May return to face Naoya Inoue.
With the current WBA rankings, published on January 31st, Young is ranked #4 at Bantamweight whilst Gaballo is totally unranked leaving more questions as to what the WBA are actually thinking by allowing this "interim" title bout.
Now we've got that out of our system we do need to admit that the bout it's self is a really good one. The unbeaten American has shown that he belong on the fringes of a world title eliminator following draws with Antonios Nieves and Nikolai Potapov, though he does look a stand out win, which he could get if her over-comes Gaballo. As for Gaballo he's started to get his passport out and has fought in the US and Mexico in last two fights, after fighting his first 16 contests in his native Philippines. He also lacks a big win, with his most notable foe being Ernesto Guerrero, and would see Young as a big step up.
On paper the bout is a great one, but the reality is that WBA have messed up, big time. They could have had these two meet in one half of a 4 man tournament, with the winner of the small tournament to get a shot, but instead seemingly sanctioning this as an interim title bout is laughable at best and a joke at worst.
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