Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales has been made. 2023 will provide a Boxing Day to remember as it has been officially announced that Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales will fight to become the undisputed super bantamweight champion on the day after Christmas.
The Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales clash will take place at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena.
While this contest had been rumoured to be happening since the moment four-weight world champion Inoue sealed victory over Stephen Fulton Jr. in July, a press conference earlier today (October 25) in Japan confirmed the Christmas present all boxing fans have been waiting for would be delivered.
While Naoya “Monster” Inoue (25-0, 22KOs) will enter the contest as the prohibitive favourite, Marlon “The Nightmare” Tapales (37-3, 19KOs) can’t be dismissed as he will bring an aggressive mindset, power and southpaw skills to the late December showdown.
Monster Aims To Complete A Year To Remember With Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales
Last December, Naoya Inoue defeated Paul Butler of England to complete his mission of becoming undisputed champion at bantamweight.
With the 118-pound division thoroughly conquered, Inoue moved up in weight. His sights now set on dominating the 122-pound division.
The Monster’s super bantamweight campaign began in July when he hammered undefeated WBO and WBC title holder Stephen Fulton Jr. Fulton Jr. had journeyed from Philadelphia to Tokyo for what many assumed would be a close fight.
Inoue showed that he was a class above though and his eighth round stoppage rounded off a dominant performance from the man from Kanagawa Prefecture.
One fight at 122, two belts collected.
Will December 2023 Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales see Inoue be crowned undisputed champion in a second weight division?
Tapales Was Ringside For Inoue vs. Fulton
One very interested spectator that summer night at Ariake Arena was WBA and IBF super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales.
Tapales, hailing from Lanao del Norte Province in the Philippines, had a close up view of the beating Inoue put on Fulton.
Despite what he had just witnessed, Tapales entered the ring after the fight and shook Inoue’s hand. Both men declared they would fight for all four belts before the end of 2023.
In order to be in this position, Tapales already had to upset the form book this year.
In April, the Filipino wasn’t expected to get the better of then two belt title holder Murodjon Akhmadaliev when he came out of the challenger’s corner at San Antonio’s Boeing Center.
Tapales, a former world champion at bantamweight, had his hand raised after 12 rounds against Akhmadaliev, winning by split decision.
While not as well known globally as Inoue, Tapales has enjoyed a successful professional career leading to Naoya Inoue Vs Marlon Tapales.
He turned pro in 2008 and has won on his previous four trips to box in Japan.
Like Inoue, he will be making his first defence of his 122-pound titles. Like Inoue, “The Nightmare” has the chance to become undisputed super bantamweight champion.
More Boxing History Beckons For Inoue
Every time Naoya Inoue gloves up he adds an extra layer of historical significance to his legacy.
By defeating Butler, “The Monster” became the first male boxer from Japan to hold undisputed champion status in the four-belt era.
That win also made Inoue the first undisputed bantamweight champion since Enrique Pinder achieved that distinction in 1972.
By beating Fulton Jr. in July, Inoue became the first Japanese male boxer to become unified champion in two or more weight divisions.
Against Tapales, Inoue could become only the second male boxer, after Terence Crawford, to become undisputed champion in more than one weight class in the four-belt era.
Completing that feat in a twelve month period may be impossible for anyone to match in future.
“I want to knock him out,” Inoue said of the Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales main event at the press conference which confirmed the contracts had all been signed.
The Japanese boxer added, “I want to show my overwhelming power and win, even in a fight like this where becoming undisputed champion in a second division is on the line.”
Living up to those words will not be easy. Tapales is a seasoned campaigner and will be looking to give Inoue and his fans a post-Christmas “Nightmare.”
We don’t know how Naoya Inoue vs Marlon Tapales will play out, but we do know that this year the December 26 (Boxing Day to many of us) sporting menu will feature an important boxing match as its main course