The WBO’s Congress in the Dominican Republic is underway and the news is flowing. Per ESPN’s Salvador Rodriguez, Sean Gibbons tells WBO President Paco Valcarcel that Marlon Tapales will challenge Naoya Inoue for undisputed super bantamweight glory on December 26th.
No word as to the location, but we can safely assume it’ll be somewhere in Japan on one of the country’s traditional year-end super shows. Inoue (25-0, 22 KO) has fought exclusively in his home country since mopping up Michael Dasmarinas in June 2021, while Tapales (37-3, 19 KO) would make his fifth career appearance in the Land of the Rising Sun.
“The Maranding Nightmare,” a former WBO bantamweight champion who lost his belts on the scale against Shohei Omori, got pretty thoroughly whupped by Ryosuke Iwasa in a 2019 IBF interim title fight. He got back into contention two fights later by smoking Hiroaki Teshigawara in a final eliminator, then broke the Stephen Fulton-Murodjon Akhmadaliev duopoly with an upset of “MJ” in April.
Though he ostensibly doesn’t poses anywhere near the threat that Fulton did on paper, Tapales has made no secret that he wants the smoke. Good on him for not dragging things out.
As for Inoue, he’s in position to become two-weight undisputed in the span of 12 months, a monumental feat by any definition. Let’s see how high the Monster can fly.