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FAIR AND SQUARE — Gibbons vows to ensure fairness when Tapales battles Inoue

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Knuckleheads Gym Marlon Tapales gets solid support from chief trainer Ernel Fontanilla (left) and promoter Sean Gibbons.

Fighting on hostile ground is not easy.

And this is the reason why the influential American dealmaker Sean Gibbons will reach out to the four major sanctioning bodies and ask that they appoint neutral judges for the 26 December unification super-bantamweight title fight between Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales.

Gibbons represents Tapales, the holder of the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation straps, and he wants no less than unfair judging when the Filipino southpaw travels to Japan and attempts to become the undisputed 122-lb champion.

Inoue boasts of owning the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization belts.

“I will be talking to the four boxing bodies,” Gibbons told DAILY TRIBUNE.

The four judges would all be coming from neutral countries, Gibbons added, brushing off the possibility that an all-Japanese cast representing all four alphabet soup bodies could be assigned to work the scheduled 12-rounder at the Ariake Arena.

As this developed, it’s all systems go for Tapales’ journey back to the Philippines this weekend as the massive underdog sets up camp in Baguio City where he will be training until he departs for Tokyo sometime in the third week of December.

The plan is for Tapales and his team to head for wintry Tokyo on the 17th, 18th or 19th of December.

Apart from lead trainer Ernel Fontanilla, joining Tapales’ party are promoter JC Mananquil and his right-hand man Ramon Falgui, and strength and conditioning coach Larry Wade.

Tapales became a two-belt champion last April when he beat Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev on a split decision in San Antonio, Texas.

The unbeaten Inoue, nicknamed “Monster,” had gotten hold of the WBC and WBO titles by knocking out Stephen Fulton of the United States last July.

Like Tapales, Inoue is also in intense training mode in Osaka where he is being joined by a pair of hard-hitting sparmates imported from Mexico.

Inoue is angling to become undisputed champion for the second time after his reign of terror at bantamweight.

Tapales is also aiming to achieve something extra-special since there has been no Filipino boxer — Manny Pacquiao included — who has become an undisputed, four-belt world champion.

To fulfill that dream, Gibbons is not leaving any stone unturned.


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