• Tapales to climb to super bantamweight

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    Three days after losing his title on the scale, former World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion Marlon “The Nightmare” Tapales announced that he is moving up to the super bantamweight weight division.

    “I’m moving up weight from bantamweight to super bantamweight,” Tapales, 25, told The Manila Times on Monday. “I’m not getting comfortable at 118 [pounds]. I think the best thing to do is move up to 122.”

    The Lanao del Norte pride said he’s no longer affected by the incident when WBO stripped him of his title after failing to reach the prescribed weight in his fight against Japanese Shohei Omori at the Edion Arena in Osaka.

    Tapales fought with a lot pride and scored an 11th round technical knockout win over the 24-year-old Omori to improve his win-loss record to 30-2 with 13 knockouts.

    “I’m thankful to God for providing me the strength to knock him out,” he said. “I fought hard because I don’t like my ratings to go down.”

    He stressed his readiness to fight in the more competitive super bantamweight division, where former world champions Nonito Donaire Jr., and Guillermo Rigondeaux, reigning WBO super bantamweight titleholder Jessie Magdaleno and Cesar Juarez are competing.

    “I will prepare for that division and I’m ready to take the opportunity. I will train very hard just what I did before in other weight divisions,” said Tapales, who began his professional career in 2009 as a 17-year-old minimum weight fighter.

    He eventually moved up to flyweight, super flyweight and bantamweight divisions.

    “I want to be a world champion in the super bantamweight class, too.”

    Wakee Salud, the promoter of Tapales, also agreed it is time for his boxer to go up to the 122 class.

    Tapales added the long layoff since his last fight last July 30 took its toll on his weight. He won the WBO title over Thai Panya Uthok via 11th round technical knockout in that fight in Thailand. In fact, the Omori fight was his first title defense.

    With only a week left before the fight, Tapales revealed to The Times that he was weighing 123 to 124 pounds.

    He tipped the scale twice at 119 pounds – a pound over the required 118-pound weight limit for the bantamweight – in the official weigh-in last Saturday.

    The WBO declared the title vacant despite his victory over Omori (18-2 record with 13 knockouts).

    If Omori won that fight, he would have been the new champion.

    JOSEF T. RAMOS

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