Marlon Tapales is beefing up his sparring team not just with a pair of power-punchers but with a handful of movers as well as the reigning World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight king prepares to kick off the most vital phase of his training camp.
Just before taking the Philippine Airlines flight from Los Angeles that will ferry him to Manila, Tapales even capped his United States buildup for the unification duel with World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization champion Naoya Inoue on 26 December by sparring at the Wild Card Boxing Club.
“He did six rounds and on the day we traveled here (in Los Angeles) from Las Vegas last Friday, he also sparred,” reported JC Mananquil, Tapales’ promoter told DAILY TRIBUNE.
Mananquil said Tapales and lead trainer Ernel Fontanilla and an assistant will be driven to Baguio City from Manila to set the stage for the training camp in the City of Pines.
Hard-hitting bantamweight Herlan Gomez and the rugged Vincent Astrolabio are joining Tapales’ camp soon but Mananquil has also decided to tap amateur standouts, Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Carlo Paalam, and Ian Clark Bautista, to help in the sparring sessions.
“They (Paalam and Bautista) will be utilized once Marlon starts doing 10 or 12 rounds of sparring,” added Mananquil.
Also being added to the roster of sparmates is a pair of featherweights so Tapales gets accustomed to the fast and furious fists of the undefeated Inoue when they face off at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo.
Tapales, who won the WBA and IBF straps by edging Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev last April in San Antonio, Texas, spent weeks and weeks training in Las Vegas.
The massive underdog, Tapales and members of his team are looking forward to a grand coronation next month in a bid to give the Philippines a lot to look forward to in 2024.
No Filipino fighter has ever become an undisputed champion.
Even Manny Pacquiao, winner of an unprecedented eight world titles, missed becoming an undisputed titleholder.