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Tapales stays sharp

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Sean Gibbons MARLON Tapales (left) gives American boxing man Sean Gibbons a warm Baguio City welcome.

It didn’t take too long for two-belt world super-bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales to convince do-it-all American boxing man Sean Gibbons that he is ready to rumble with Japanese Naoya “Monster” Inoue in Tokyo.

Exactly two weeks before he clashes with Inoue at the Ariake Arena on 26 December, Tapales displayed his utmost readiness during a workout at the Shape Up Boxing gym.

“He is sharp and he is oozing with confidence,” Gibbons reported from Baguio City on Tuesday afternoon.

Gibbons and his son Brendan had blown into town from San Francisco and were immediately brought to the City of Pines and arrived there in time to see the Filipino southpaw work out.

Gibbons said it was evident that Tapales was in high spirits, a trait that gives everyone in camp an aura of full confidence.

“That’s the attitude of a winner. It shows that he is in terrific shape. It says that ‘this is my time (to shine),’” Gibbons said.

Tapales is in his final week of training as he is scheduled to leave for Tokyo on 19 December. This weekend, he will motor down to Manila where a press conference cum sendoff is being planned.

The Baguio City camp kicked off in the first week of November and the six-week preparation in the country allowed him to spar with a wide variety of fighters, ranging from fast-rising prospects to seasoned campaigners.

“Camp was great because I got plenty of quality sparring,” said Tapales, holder of the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation 122-lb straps.

If victorious against Inoue, holder of the World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization jewels, Tapales will become the first Filipino undisputed champion, an achievement that escaped even the great Manny Pacquiao.

Inoue, however, is the massive betting favorite according to oddsmakers given the Japanese’s awesome power and perfect timing.

But Tapales is unfazed, saying he is not traveling to Japan to hand over his twin titles on a silver platter.

“I have always been an underdog all my life but I have always managed to find a way to win,” Tapales said.

Inoue parades a 25-0 record with 22 knockouts while Tapales totes a 37-3 ledger with 19 knockouts.

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