Marlon Tapales Okayed By WBA To Fight Naoya Inoue – Stephen Fulton Winner

06/06/2023 - By James Slater - Comments

The winner of the upcoming fight between Naoya Inoue and Stephen Fulton will walk out of the ring with two super-bantamweight titles, and now the WBA has okayed their 122 pound champion Marlon Tapales to fight the winner. Fulton, who will be defending his WBO and WBC belts in Japan on July 25, fully believes he will win the fight. Inoue, who will be having his 122 pound debut, has other ideas.

And now, Tapales, who also holds the IBF belt, will be waiting for the winner. The super-bantamweight division is pretty exciting at the moment, and this is in large part due to “The Monster’s” invasion of the weight class. Tapales, 37-3(19) won the WBA and IBF titles in April when he defeated Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

Akhmadaliev has been ordered to face Tomoki Kameda in a final eliminator to determine the unified champion’s mandatory challenger. So, in theory, we could see a unified four-belt super-bantamweight champion crowned before too long. But who will it be?

Japanese superstar Inoue, 24-0(21) and already three division champion, is seen by many as the best fighter in the world today pound-for-pound. Fulton, hailing from Philadelphia, is currently 21-0(8) and he has for some time been telling anyone and everyone who will listen that he will defeat Inoue. The July 25 fight could turn into a great fighter, a boxer Vs. puncher affair of the highest order (although Inoue, a monster puncher, also has fine boxing skills).

Tapales of the Philippines would likely be an underdog against Inoue or Fulton. Still, we should see some interesting and exciting fights as these five men, Inoue, Fulton, Tapales, Akhmadaliev and Kameda get busy.

A unified champion is of course always a great thing for the sport, and the more unified champions we see in the various weight divisions the better, for the fighters and for we fans. And to repeat, we could see a four-belt super-bantamweight king crowned either this year or perhaps some time next year.

If only the heavyweight division was as simple!