MANILA — Marlon Tapales is one of only a handful of Filipino world champions right now. Yet it seems like he’s not getting the recognition he deserves.
This is why his first world bantamweight title defense against Shohei Omori in Japan should serve as an opportunity to step out of relative obscurity.
Boxing analyst Dennis Principe said Tapales has every advantage he could ask for in his rematch against the Japanese who got crushed in just 2 rounds by the gritty Filipino boxer back in 2015.
“Kung merong challenge kay Tapales this is, I believe, his mentality,” Principe told ABS-CBN News.
Principe said the 24-year-old native of Lanao del Norte hasn’t gotten much hype since his title victory Panya Uthok (Sor Singyu) of Thailand last July.
Tapales fought his heart out in that bout, capping a dramatic comeback against Uthok in the 11th after being knocked down twice.
“How has he reacted since naging champion s’ya? Kasi hindi siya napag-uusapan. The only relevant na treatment na nakuha niya was when he was given the Elorde Award which is only last month,” Principe said.
Principe, who has known Tapales since he was starting out, said the Filipino boxer is a likeable, down-to-earth guy with a lot of potential inside the ring.
“Since then hanggang sa maging regional champion, hanggang sa maging regular sparring mate sa Japan, nandoon pa rin ‘yung humility n’ya,” he said.
In terms of skill and ring generalship, Principe said, Tapales towers over Omori.
If there’s something lacking, Principe said it’s the respect typically accorded to a world champion.
“Ba’t ganun champion ako pero walang pumapansin? Walang guesting, write up, interview. So it should be a challenge for him, na para bang meron ba s’yang kailangang patunayan hindi porke’t champion ka na e ‘yun na ‘yun,” said Principe.
Tapales will square off against Omori at Edion Arena in Osaka this Sunday.
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