World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales predicted a tough bout when he defends his title against Shohei Omori on April 23 in Japan.
In December 16, 2015, Tapales beat Omori via second round technical knockout at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan during a title eliminator match. The Filipino champion believes his younger Japanese foe would go all-out to avenge his loss.
“It’s not going to be the same Omori that I defeated a year ago. It’s going to be a different one,” the 24-year-old Tapales (29-2 win-loss record with 12 knockouts) told The Manila Times in a telephone interview. “I believe he’s very hungry to get even and take away my title. That’s why I’m training hard but wisely.”
Tapales said he is not worried about over training three months before his fight. “I sparred lightly and trained right here in Cebu. I don’t see any reason not to become successful in my title defense. I’m also conscious about my diet.”
Tapales was supposed to fight Japanese Takuma Inoue (8-0 record with two knockouts) in Tokyo last December 30, but the bout was cancelled after the Japanese accidentally fractured his right hand during training.
“All I can do right now is to keep my body in good condition and increase my stamina, as well as increasing my punching power and of course my timing. There is no pressure on my part though the fight will be held outside the country,” he said.
Tapales bagged the title, after dethroning the 27-year-old Thai champion Panya Uthok (52-4 record with 35 knockouts) via 11th round technical knockout in Thailand July 27, last year.
“If I won in Thailand, why not in Japan? But I’ll be more cautious. I’m pretty sure the challenger will do everything it takes to dethrone me.”
“If I didn’t knock that guy (Uthok) out, I guess I would lose that fight because I suffered two knock downs,” he said. “I have to be more careful in my title defense. I’m very lucky to become a world titleholder in my first try but I don’t like to lose it in my first title defense.”