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Gibbons, Honda hold Vegas talks

Marlon Tapales (left) and Japanese Naoya Inoue are bracing for an explosive title showdown. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Sean Gibbons

The lead promoters of Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales — the world’s leading super-bantamweights –are holding talks in Las Vegas next week to determine if a mouth-watering and megabuck matchup between the two can be made for December.

Inoue, the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization champion, will be represented by Akihiko Honda of Teiken Promotions.

Tapales, the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titleholder, will have Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions and VIVA promotions on the table.

Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, who is Inoue’s US promoter, will likely be there as well since Top Rank is based in Las Vegas.

Gibbons said no specific date has been eyed but the planned Inoue-Tapales clash will happen in December.

Tokyo Dome, the 55,000-capacity venue, is being targeted as site of the unification showdown involving the world’s finest 122-pounders.

Inoue became the WBC and WBO titlist last month by knocking out Stephen Fulton at the Ariake Coliseum.

Tapales, a southpaw, had snatched the WBA and IBF straps last April when he carved out a split decision win over Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev in San Antonio, Texas.

Although a deal has yet to be made by the two camps, Tapales is already in training mode, confident that an agreement will be made soon.

In fact, Tapales is flying to the United States on 24 August so he can start training camp in Las Vegas.

While waiting for that date, Tapales has been busy showing up in the gym with lead trainer Ernel Fontanilla in General Santos City.

Tapales is the only Filipino world champion at the moment.

The past few months, Filipino fighters have been unsuccessful in world title fights.

Those who have lost since May include Vincent Astrolabio, Melvin Jerusalem, Jade Bornea, Regie Suganob and Nonito Donaire.

Late this month, another Filipino puncher will bid to join Tapales when Garen Diagan travels to Puerto Rico to challenge WBO minimumweight champion Oscar Collazo, who dethroned Jerusalem last May.

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