Tapales won the world title earlier this year, pulling himself off the canvas twice to stop Pungluang Sor Singyu in one of the gutsiest performances of 2016. Since that win it seems there has been a bullseye on his back with many fighters now said to be targeting him and offers flying in to try and secure a bout against the "Maranding Nightmare".
Last week we reported that Takuma Inoue (7-0, 2) [井上 拓真] was interested in facing Tapales, something that has since been confirmed, though he wouldn't be able to have a world title fight until later in the year, likely December. Yesterday we saw another Japanese fighter, Shohei Omori (17-1, 12) [大森 将平], talk about a bout with Tapales. Omori is looking to avenge his sole defeat, which came to the Filipino last year, though could be left in the cold here if Tapales feels he has "been there and done that".
Omori isn't the only man looking for revenge and it's been said that Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-4, 35) [ผึ้งหลวง ส.สิงห์อยู่] is also interested in a rematch with Tapales, though he may be made to travel if big money isn't offered for the Filipino's services given the way the promoter messed Tapales about ahead of heir first fight, which saw Tapalese battle back to stop Pungluang in the later stages.
Another linked to Tapales, and apparently the most concrete offer made so far, is Englishman Paul Butler (21-1, 12). Butler is a former IBF champion at the weight who had been looking to become a major player at 115lbs, but has struggled at Super Flyweight before returning back to Bantamweight. Physically he's a small fighter at the weight, like Tapales in many ways, and is promoter by Frank Warren. The offer is said to be for a date in October with a lot more laid down than either of the Japanese offers.
A peculiar offer could see Tapales travel to Vietnam, creating history in the process as the first world champion to defend a title in the country. The offer for a bout in Vietnam seems to revolve around an Australian fighter, believed to be TJ Doheny (15-0, 11), the PABA Super Bantamweight champion.
An alternative is that Tapales could be on the November 5th card headlined by compatriot Manny Pacquiao, who challenges Jessie Vargas for the WBO Welterweight title. At the moment this would likely be the highest profile option, though may mean that Tapales' team may need to find an opponent and do more of the "leg work" than if others were in control of the promotion, it would however see him enter the ring with a large Filipino friendly crowd.
At the moment Tapales' team are weighing all the offers up, though may need to strike a deal swiftly as some offers won't be around for long and fighters may take a different route if they end up being forced to wait too long. Of course they may also see the advantage of taking two fighters this year, one in October and maybe one in December if their man can come out on top in the first bout.'