Filipino boxer Marlon Tapales relinquished his WBA and IBF titles as Japanese fighter Naoya Inoue maintained his undefeated record and became the undisputed super bantamweight world champion.
Tapales admitted that he couldn’t keep up with Inoue and suffered a technical knockout loss in the 10th round of their unification clash. Inoue landed two powerful right punches that led to Tapales’ defeat and secured him the undisputed world super bantamweight championship.
With this victory, Inoue added Tapales’ WBA and IBF belts to his collection of the WBC and WBO titles, making him only the tenth boxer in history to achieve such a feat. The current pound-for-pound king now stands at an impressive record of 26-0 with 23 knockouts, while Tapales dropped to 37-4 with 19 knockouts.
Tapales acknowledged Inoue’s skill and speed, admitting that he couldn’t catch up with his opponent. Inoue had already shown his dominance in the fourth round when he knocked Tapales down with a combination of right punches and a left hook. However, Tapales managed to recover and even won the fifth round.
Despite Tapales landing more blows in the eighth round, it was Inoue who surprised everyone by knocking him down in the 10th round. Inoue expressed his surprise as well, stating that Tapales didn’t show any signs of damage or fatigue prior to the knockout.
Inoue was heavily favored before the fight, with odds of -2000 in his favor and +950 for Tapales. Inoue’s previous Filipino opponents, including Nonito Donaire, also fell victim to his powerful punches.
Tapales, accompanied by his team including trainer Ernel Fontanilla, plans to make a comeback next year and pursue another shot at becoming a world champion. Another Filipino fighter, John Paul Gabunilas, also suffered a defeat by technical knockout against Japanese prospect Kanamu Sakama in a flyweight bout.