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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales to Fight on Boxing Day

Naoya Inoue will put his WBC and WBO super bantamweight title belts on the line against Filipino opponent Tapales, the WBA and IBF champion.



Naoya Inoue
Marlon Tapales (left) and Naoya Inoue display their super bantamweight title belts after Inoue's victory over Stephen Fulton on July 25, 2023, at Ariake Arena in Tokyo. (ⒸSANKEI)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales to Fight on Boxing Day

Unbeaten four-division champion Naoya Inoue is scheduled to return to the ring on December 26 in Japan with a quest to become the undisputed super bantamweight world champion. 

Inoue, the WBC and WBO champion, seeks to grab Filipino pugilist Marlon Tapales' WBA and IBF title belts.

An official announcement appears imminent, and the blockbuster bout on Boxing Day is expected to take place in Tokyo.

Sean Gibbons, Tapales' promoter, has been quoted by several media outlets saying that the fight night is set.

Inoue (25-0, 22 knockouts) made his super bantamweight debut on July 25 and earned an eighth-round technical knockout of Stephen Fulton, dethroning the American champion at Ariake Arena. The 31-year-old Tapales (37-3, 19 knockouts) attended that fight in Tokyo and joined Inoue, aka "Monster," in the ring afterward, where they revealed their intentions to square off before the end of the year.

Naoya Inoue
Naoya Inoue punches Stephen Fulton in the sixth round of their title fight on July 25. (ⒸSANKEI)

What's at stake for Inoue: A shot at becoming the second boxer to be crowned undisputed champion in two weight classes in the four-belt era (since 2004).

Who accomplished the feat first?

Terence Crawford in the light welterweight and welterweight divisions, the latter accomplishment occurring on July 29 against Errol Spence Jr.

Naoya Inoue
Naoya Inoue (KYODO)


Naoya Inoue is Focused on Training

With Inoue's camp and Tapales' handlers working out the details, Inoue commented in late September, according to Nikkan Sports, "I hear that negotiations with Tapales are progressing very well."

The boxing superstar added: "We are practicing for the Tapales match [with late December as the target]."

Tapales is also focused on getting ready for the fight.

"I am happy that my regular training is going well," Tapales said in a statement issued by MP Promotions. "My stamina, endurance, punching power and quickness are in good shape." 

Continue reading the full story, which includes news items on track and field, basketball and more, on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven

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