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Marlon Tapales-Ryosuke Iwasa joins Charlo-Hogan on December 7th

Both men are former champions, Tapales at 118 and Iwasa at 122

World bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales at DEF Gym in Sheung Wan. 26FEB17 Photos: Unus Alladin Photo by Unus Alladin/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

The December 7th Jermall Charlo-Dennis Hogan card seems to be running with a theme of “title fights more interesting than the main event.” In addition to the Chris Eubank Jr.-Matt Korobov interim WBA middleweight title fight, the Brooklyn-based Showtime card will also see IBF #3 super bantamweight Marlon Tapales take on #1 Ryosuke Iwasa for the interim title.

The story actually broke last week, but the Ring article was the first time I’d been alerted and it’s not on the BLH schedule, so I figured it was safe way to pad my article count.

“The Maranding Nightmare” Tapales (33-2, 16 KO), 12-0 since a 2013 majority decision loss to David Sanchez, knocked out Pungluang Sor Singyu for the WBO bantamweight title back in 2016, only to lose it on the scales ahead of a rematch with Shohei Omori. He’s since fought thrice between 122 and 126, extending his knockout streak to seven in the process and most recently joining countryman Jhack Tepora on a June 1st PBC show.

He gets his first real test at the new weight in Iwasa (26-3, 16 KO), a former champion who lost his title in controversial fashion. The 29-year-old Chiba native took the IBF belt from Yukinori Oguni in 2017 and defended it with a decision over Ernesto Saulong, setting up a battle with TJ Doheny that saw the Irishman claim a narrow decision. He was last seen taking a decision over gritty veteran Cesar Juarez in February.

Interim titles are usually dumb, but there’s an actual reason this time. Unified champ Daniel Roman, currently injured, is contractually obligated to deal with WBA mandatory Murodjon Akhmadaliev as part of the unification deal that let him face Doheny. Putting two deserving contenders in for 12 rounds while the champ takes care of that seems like a worthwhile cause.

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