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Wounds of war — Tapales targets rousing 2024 return

Photograph by Nick Giongco for the Daily Tribune

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Sean Gibbons, the American promoter of fallen Filipino southpaw Marlon Tapales, admitted Wednesday that Naoya Inoue was simply on another level.

Inoue became the undisputed world super-bantamweight champion after stopping Tapales on Tuesday night at the Ariake Arena.

“At the end of the day, he showed who he is. The guy is athletic. He is fast and he’s like Manny (Pacquiao). They move in and out and they shift to another level in an instant,” Gibbons said.

Tapales went down on his knees after eating a potent three-punch combination in the fourth round and fell again in the tenth from a right to the temple.

Still, Gibbons tipped his hat off to Tapales, who “did what he said he would.”

“But overall, he came and he fought, came in his shield, and there were times when we thought that we could win this one,” Gibbons said, noting that while Tapales was “like a freight train” in his approach to the fight, “Inoue was like a Maserati.”

“Inoue could go fast quick and that was the big difference.”

“Marlon could not come close because Inoue was very quick to change gears.”

Tapales echoed Gibbons’ observations, saying “Inoue was too fast” that he was unable to execute his game plan to the letter.

Inoue led on all scorecards when referee Celestino Ruiz counted Tapales out in the unification fight that unexpectedly lasted ten rounds.

“Nobody expected Marlon would last that long. Everyone thought we would get blown away in one or two rounds but Marlon even landed good shots,” Gibbons added.

Tapales is returning to the Philippines on Friday and will celebrate the New Year with his wife and daughter whom he hasn’t seen in months.

He will embark on another mission to fight for a world title fight with a comeback bout sometime in May.

“I will be back,” Tapales said as he dragged his two pieces of luggage to a waiting van bound for Tokyo where he will cool his heels.

Don’t count him out.


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