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Phl boxing enters homestretch


Don’t count him out


Whether Philippine professional boxing makes a rousing return to power in the world scene will be known before the end of the year.

Next month, the outspoken John Riel Casimero makes a surprise appearance in Tokyo in a bid to shore up interest among Japanese fight fans for a possible showdown with Naoya Inoue in 2024.

But the final two months — November and December — should be gamechanging events.

On 15 November at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Jerwin Ancajas attempts to dethrone Takuma Inoue as World Boxing Association bantamweight king.

If victorious, Ancajas becomes a two-division titlist, having reigned as super-fly king for almost six years from 2016 up to 2022.

But the major, major fight involves Marlon Tapales, the two-belt super-bantamweight king whose megabuck matchup with Inoue is being discussed as of this writing.

Thought negotiations have been productive the last few days, a formal deal has yet to be agreed upon by the two camps.

Should the fight happen, it will be held at the Ariake Arena, also in Tokyo, sometime in December.

This is the most important fight involving a Filipino this year.

Tapales is a unified champion.

Same is true with Inoue.

If victorious, Tapales will become an undisputed champion, a title even the great Manny Pacquiao didn’t win during his Hall of Fame career.

Reports from Las Vegas, site of Tapales’ training camp have been encouraging.

Tapales knows the magnitude of his next fight.

Though the clear underdog, Tapales is not somebody to be messed with.

I would be the least shocked if he ends up taking Inoue’s straps.

But it would require Tapales to come up with a performance of a lifetime to get the job done.

Don’t count him out.

He can get the job done.

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