Defending World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales is still five pounds away from the weight limit but he expressed readiness for his first title defense against Japanese Shohei Omori on April 23 at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.
The 25-year-old boxer from Lanao del Norte admitted his current weight, roughly 122 or 123 pounds, is still far from the 118-pount limit with seven days left before the fight.
But Tapales isn’t bothered, after all.
“I’m weighing 122, 123 and sometimes 125 but I’m not bothered because I trained hard everyday. I still have seven days to shed off some weight and I’m sure I can make it during the weigh-in without any problem,” Tapales told The Manila Times on Sunday.
“I’m ready to defend my title. So far so good, I’m in good fighting condition but I believe I’ll be stronger and faster during the fight,” he added.
Tapales already defeated Omori in their first meeting via second round technical knockout last December 16, 2015.
But Tapales is expecting a different Omori this time.
“He fought very well to earn this rematch. I think he will employ new tactics and his body physique also improved, so I have to be ready and cautious,” he said of his Japanese foe who knocked out Filipino Rocky Fuentes in his last bout last December 31 in Japan.
“I have to be ready for his solid combinations but as what I said, it’s going to be a different Omori now. I have no idea what strategy he’s going to do, but I’m always prepared,” he said.
Aside from the hometown crowd, Tapales also needs to fight off the cold weather in Japan as he fights the 24-year-old challenger Omori (18-1 record with 13 knockouts).
Tapales (29-2 win-loss record with 12 knockouts) and his camp headed by promoter and manager Wakee Salud leave on Monday in Cebu for Japan.
Tapales is coming off an impressive 11th round knockout win over Thai Panya Uthok last July 27 in Thailand to capture the WBO belt.