Marlon Tapales beefed up his roster of sparring partners by bringing in Pete Apolinar, who once formed a part of Naoya Inoue’s battery of sparmates in Japan.
Now into the second week of training in Baguio City, Tapales began banging bodies with Apolinar and four others as his buildup for the undisputed world super-bantamweight title clash with Inoue on 26 December in Tokyo intensified.
A former Orient-Pacific Boxing Federation champion, Apolinar, alongside a couple of other Filipino fighters, served as Inoue’s sparmates when he was getting ready to battle Nonito Donaire for the first time in 2019.
Tapales, holder of the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation 122-lb straps, arrived in the country from his United States training camp on 7 November.
The prohibitive favorite, Inoue is putting his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization belts on the line in the scheduled 12-rounder at the Ariake Arena.
The country’s lone world champion, Tapales will train in the City of Pines until the third week of December and will fly to Tokyo on the 18th or 19th of December.
Unlike before, Inoue is utilizing a pair of Mexican heavy-hitters instead of hiring Filipinos to serve as sparring partners.