By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Winning a world title is supposed to bring huge benefits to a boxer’s career. But for Marlon Tapales, it meant periods of inactivity.
Three years ago, he waged the fight of his life against Pungluang Sor Singyu (Panya Uthok) in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Tapales had to rise from the canvas twice in the fifth, endure the pain inflicted by brutal body shots, to stop the Thai in round eleven.
Tapales was praised by sportswriters not only for winning the WBO world bantamweight title but for beating someone who had a long list of Filipino victims on his resume. But still, he remained overlooked by the casual fans in the talent rich Philippine boxing scene.
Being dormant for nine months led to losing his title on the scales in Japan. Tapales was a huge favorite against Shohei Omori, a man he already stopped in two rounds in 2015. But despite his efforts to make weight, he was still more than a pound above the division limit of 118.
The title was declared vacant but the fight pushed through with Tapales winning by 11th round TKO. He returned home an ex-champion and his team made known their plan to move him up to junior featherweight. But, he had to wait seventeen months for another fight.
In those months of inactivity, there were reports of Tapales being matched against Mexican Cesar Juarez for the interim WBO junior featherweight crown. The rumor that circulated here in Cebu was that the offer was eventually turned down because Tapales’ management and trainer felt he did not have enough time to prepare. This decision left a lot of boxing pundits scratching their heads; Juarez lost to Isaac Dogboe by TKO in round five in January of 2018.
Tapales’ only fight last year was an easy opening round knockout of Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema in Metro Manila.
The good news is he is slated for a fight in Los Angeles this February 16 against Fernando Vargas Parra (34-14-3,23KO’s) of Mexico. This card features WBA super world featherweight champ Leo Santa Cruz defending against Rafael Rivera.
A few days ago, a video uploaded on social media showed Tapales hitting the mitts with former WBC light flyweight champ Rodel Mayol, who now works as a trainer in California.
“Marlon is already an excellent fighter,” Mayol told this writer in an internet chat, “He won a world title before,he will be a champion again.”
The 26 year old Tapales (31-2,14KO’s) hails from Lanao del Norte in the Philippines. He has been a pro for more than ten years now. For the better part of his career, he fought under Rex “Wakee” Salud Promotions. Many feel he has not lived up to his full potential and that with his skill level he could have reached the same heights as Nonito Donaire and Donnie Nietes. The latest super bantamweight/ junior featherweight rankings has him at number 6 in the WBO and number 7 in the IBF.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.