Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales Preview December 26th, 2023
There’s a super bantamweight unification fight this Tuesday, December 26th in Tokyo, Japan as unbeaten WBC and WBO boss and former undisputed Bantamweight Champion Naoya Inoue takes on WBA and IBF Champion Marlon Tapales of the Philippines. The 12-round contest from Ariake Arena can be seen live on ESPN+ in America with the card starting about 3 am EST, while fans in the UK and Ireland can catch it on Sky Sports Arena and those in Australia can order it on Main Event. Inoue last fought in July when he halted Stephen Fulton in the eighth round to take his WBO and WBC titles. Tapales last action came in April when he edged Murodjon Akhmadaliev by a controversial split decision to capture his belts.
Inoue vs Tapales Betting Odds
- Marlon Tapales +1000
- Naoya Inoue -2000
The 30-year-old Inoue is just the second male Japanese boxer to win world titles in four weight divisions to join Kazuto Ioka in that feat. Inoue was also a world beltholder at 108, 115 and 118 lbs and is now attempting to unify the 122 lb division to become an undisputed champion in two different divisions. As a bantamweight, Inoue fought in the World Boxing Super Series Bantamweight Tournament and won the IBF belt when he stopped Emmanuel Rodriguez in the second round in May, 2019.
Six months later, he beat Nonito Donaire by unanimous decision in a classic battle to capture the tournament as well as Donaire’s WBA Super World Belt. Inoue had originally won the regular WBA title in May, 2018 when he stopped Jamie McDonnell in 112 seconds. After beating Donaire, Inoue defended the belts against Jason Moloney, Michael Dasmarinas and Aran Dipaen with stoppages in the seventh, eighth and third rounds respectively.
Inoue and Donaire met in a long-awaited rematch in June, 2022 with Inoue adding the WBC Bantamweight Title to his collection when he stopped the Filipino Flash in the second round. He then became undisputed with an 11th-round stoppage of Paul Butler last December. He enters the bring this Tuesday with a perfect mark of 25-0 with 22 Ko’s. Inoue is also a former WBO Jr. Bantamweight and WBC Junior Flyweight Titleholder who has all the tools to be considered one of the world’s top pound-for-pound boxers.
He defended his Junior Bantamweight Crown seven times before moving up in weight. The Japanese star became a world champion in just his sixth pro fight when he stopped Adrian Hernandez in the sixth round for his WBC Junior Flyweight Belt in May, 2014. He defended it once then moved up to super flyweight and took the title from Omar Narvaez by second-round KO in December, 2014. Known as ‘The Monster,’ Inoue has been a sensation in his homeland since turning pro in 2012 and has boxed 146 rounds since.
He’s definitely got some dynamite in his fists with an 88 per cent knockout ratio but also has fine boxing skills. Inoue has stopped his last six opponents and has gone the distance just once since mid-2016 and that was the first fight against Donaire in 2019, but he did drop him in the 11th round. Inoue stands 5-feet-5-inches tall with a 67.5-inch reach.
Before turning pro Inoue enjoyed a fine amateur career and is now 20-0 with 17 Ko’s in world title fights. He’s also beaten the likes of Juan Carlos Payano, Ryoichi Taguchi, Kohei Kono, Antonio Nieves, David Carmona and Ricardo Rodriguez. He’s also 10-0 with 8 Kos against current or former world champions in Fulton, Butler, Donaire, Rodriguez, Taguchi, Hernandez, Narvaez, Kono, McDonnell and Payano.
The 31-year-old Tapales makes the ring walk with a record of 37-3 with 19 Ko’s and has boxed 258 rounds since making his pro debut in 2008. He’s been beaten by Brix Ray by stoppage after the sixth round in 2009 in a fight for the Filipino Flyweight Title and dropped a 12-round majority decision to David Sanchez in 2013. He was also stopped by Ryosuke Iwasa in the 11th round in 2019 for the interim IBF Super Bantamweight Title.
Since turning pro Tapales has also captured the Filipino Light Flyweight crown as well as the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title. He won the WBO Bantamweight Title in 2016 when he stopped Panya Uthok in the 11th round and then lost it on the weigh scales in his next outing against Shohei Omori despite stopping him in the 11th round. Tapales also owns wins over Armando de la Cruz, Randy Petalcorin, Warlito Parrenas, Richard Olisa, Hayata Kimura, Goodluck Mrema, Eden Sonsosa, Fernando Vargas Perra and Roberto Castaneda.
Tapales measures 5-feet-4-inches tall with a 65-inch reach which means he gives up an inches in height and 2.5-inches inches in reach to Inoue. As far as power is concerned, he’s about average as 51.4 per cent of his wins have come by stoppage. That being said, his had stopped 10 opponents in a row before going the distance with Akhmadaliev earlier this year. Tapales is also a fan-friendly boxer due to his tendency to drop or be dropped by his opponents during fights.
This is a pretty good matchup as Tapales has been on a roll lately. He started very well against Akhmadaliev but seemed to fade a bit in the second half of the contest. Still, his chin held up well in that fight and this could be a close contest if it holds up again against Inoue. There’s no doubt that Inoue has excellent power but he’s also a fine boxer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tapales takes him into the second half of the fight though. But sooner or later I believe Inoue’s going to eventually put enough power shots together to stop him due to being a great body puncher who changes angles, speed and power when letting his hands go.
Inoue can box and has the power to end the fight with one punch.
Play Inoue -2000 @ BetOnline.ag
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