ESPN+ weights: Inoue vs. Tapales – Naoya hunts for undisputed glory on December 26th

By Jeepers Isaac - 12/24/2023 - Comments

Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue showed little emotion today, weighing in at 121 3/4 pounds for his undisputed super bantamweight championship bout against underdog Marlon Tapales on Tuesday morning. IBF/WBA champion Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs) weighed in at 121 1/4 lbs and looked thin & drained.

The 31-year-old Tapales is expected to put on a massive amount of weight overnight and resemble a small Mack truck by fight time.

Inoue-Tapales event will be shown on ESPN+ on December 26th at 3:00 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT from the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.

Inoue has been knocking out everyone he’s faced lately, and he could make quick work of Tapales, who is arguably a step down in competition from Naoya’s last fight against Stephen Fulton.

WBC/WBO super bantamweight champion ‘Monster’ Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) will look to capture his second undisputed championship fight in less than a year, which would be a major accomplishment.

Naoya Inoue’s undisputed quest

Inoue is fortunate to have the opportunity to scoop up two belts in his two fights since moving up to 122 last July. In his previous fight, he destroyed WBC & WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton in eight rounds in Tokyo, Japan last July.

Now, ‘Monster’ Noue gets an even easier fight against Tapale, who will be right there in front of him all night and wide open for his power shots.

The grizzled 15-year professional Tapales recently defeated Murodjon Akhmadaliev by a twelve round split decision last April in San Antonio, Texas.

Going into that fight, few boxing fans gave Tapales much of a chance of victory against the previously unbeaten 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Akhmadaliev. Tapales took advantage of Akhmadaliev’s nonexistent work rate to win rounds almost by default.

It was a similar clash as last Saturday’s match between Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker, given that Akhmadaliev wasn’t throwing. Tapales capitalized on the situation by outworking his reluctant opponent to win a dull decision.

Tapales is an old 31, and he’s not as fast as he once was. All he has left now is size and power. He’s likely to get beaten to the punch all night by Inoue, but if he can handle the Japanese star’s power, he could give him problems.

Tapales is like a slow George Foreman type of fighter who bludgeons his opponents into submission with his heavy shots. His massive size after rehydrating really helps. This is by far the biggest guy that Inoue has faced, and it’ll be interesting to see if his shots have any effect on the lightweight-sized fighter.

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