Strategy and conditioning are going to play key roles in Filipino southpaw Marlon Tapales’ quest to become boxing’s undisputed champion in late-December.
“Diskarte at kundisyon (Gameplan and physical conditioning),” Tapales told Daily Tribune from Las Vegas on Thursday barely 24 hours after Japanese rival Naoya Inoue presided over a press conference in Tokyo formally announcing their 26 December showdown at the Ariake Arena for all four world super-bantamweight titlebelts.
“Yan ang dalawang bagay na dapat pagbutihin ang preparasyon (Those are the two things we have to prepare for during training),” Tapales, the huge underdog, said.
The holder of the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation straps, Tapales admits the Inoue clash is going to be the biggest bout of his career.
Inoue will also bring to the fight his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization jewels in the hopes of becoming undisputed at 122 lbs after terrorizing the bantamweight (118 lbs) ranks the past few years.
Tapales feels he has to achieve optimum conditioning and utmost readiness to check Inoue’s rapid rise in the pound-for-pound rankings.
Currently, Inoue is regarded as the second-best fighter in the world regardless of weight with welterweight Terence Crawford as No. 1 in the elite rankings.
Tapales knows what he will be up against in two month’s time.
“Handa ka sa lahat ng pwedeng mangyari kapag kalaban mo ang kagaya ni Inoue. Hindi ka lang dapat handang magbitaw kundi handa ring tumanggap (You have to be read for any eventuality when you fight a fighter of Inoue’s caliber. You just don’t prepare to throw the right punches but be ready to absorb his best punches as well).”
Plans are afoot for the relocation of Tapales’ training camp to the Philippines.
In fact, JC Mananquil, the fighter’s chief handler, is already in America to pick him up and join him in the return flight to Manila on 6 November.
Tapales said the team is finalizing the six-week training program in Baguio City beginning 8 November.
Ernel Fontanilla will be right beside him and there are plans as well to tag along his strength and conditioning team to the City of Pines.
Mananquil said local trainers will assist Fontanilla while the sparring partners will be beefed up by Vincent Astrolabio of General Santos City and hot prospect Herlan Gomez of Bacolod City.
Additional support staff will join them in Tokyo on the 17th or 18th of December.
Meanwhile, Tapales is not leaving any stone unturned in his bid to whip himself into form for Inoue.
“I am so excited.”