By Robert Segal: Promoter Bob Arum is planning a 122-lb undisputed championship fight on December 26th between WBC & WBO super bantamweight champion Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue and IBF & WBA champ Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs) in Japan.
The highly ranked popular pound-for-pound star Inoue is expected to defeat Tapales, and make it look easy. Inoue has the speed & power advantage over the 31-year-old Tapales, and he’s dominated his opposition. Inoue-Tapales will be huge in Japan & the Philippines.
Although Tapales recently captured the IBF& WBA belts, he’s been beaten several times against fighters nowhere near the level of Inoue in terms of talent. Tapales is going to need to raise his game for him to have a chance of beating Inoue because, on paper, this is a mismatch, even more so than Naoya’s last fight against Stephen Fulton.
Fans are looking forward to the Inoue-Tapales contest to see if ‘Monster’ Inoue can tackle the tough Filipino fighter to become the undisputed champion in just two fights.
Inoue is lucky that the title he doesn’t need to spend time fighting four different champions like many fighters are forced to.
Naoya, 30, recently destroyed WBC/WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton in and eighth round last July to capture two of the four belts in Tokyo, Japan.
Inoue’s next fight after that could be in the U.S., which makes sense because if he’s moving up to126 to try and become a three-division undisputed champion, he’ll need to fight in the States because that’s where three of the champs fight.
U.S fans are more interested in seeing Inoue (25-0,22 KOs) on WBO 126-lb champion Robeisy Ramirez & IBF champ Luis Alberto Lopez than watching him fight the 31-year-old Tapales, who only fought in America six times, and one of them being an eleventh round knockout loss to Ryosuke Iwasa in 2019.
It’s possible that Inoue will reach his ceiling when he moves up to 126 and goes up against the two-time Olympic gold medalist Robeisy, as he’s highly skilled and has good power of his own.
If Inoue does make it to the super featherweight division, it could be even more difficult for him to deal with Emanuel Navarrete, who has the reach of a middleweight. His arms are freakishly long, and he has a lot of power. You have to respect Inoue for at least trying.
Tapales is coming off a narrow 12 round split decision win over IBF/WBA 122-lb champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev last April in San Antonio, Texas.
So Bob Arum tells me that he believes things are moving forward for Naoya Inoue-Marlon Tapales for all the belts at 122, in Japan on December 26.
As for 'the Monster' fighting again next year in America, Arum reiterated, ''He wants to fight, here." So banzai.. #boxing
— Steve Kim (@SteveKim323) October 6, 2023