Saturday, March 25, 2023  |



Tapales stops Omori in 11, WBO title now vacant

Marlon Tapales celebrates after his WBO title-winning victory in Thailand in 2016. Photo / Doug Secuya

Marlon Tapales gained a measure of redemption after losing his WBO bantamweight title on the scales, knocking out Shohei Omori for the second time on Sunday at EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan.

The fight came to an end 16 seconds into the eleventh round as Omori was badly damaged from a knockdown at the end of the previous round which left him out on his feet as the bell sounded.

Tapales, who weighed nearly two pounds over the bantamweight limit after two attempts to make weight, had only pride to earn, and a bit of momentum as he moves into a full-time campaign at 122 pounds.

The fight was much tougher the second time around for Tapales (30-2, 13 knockouts), who bulldozed the previously unbeaten Omori (18-2, 13 KOs) with four knockdowns in two rounds in December of 2015 to a mandatory title shot.

Tapales had hoped to make the first defense of the title he won last July with a come-from-behind knockout of Pungluang Sor Singyu in Thailand. He nearly had a flashback of the knockdowns he suffered in the fifth round in Thailand as his knee almost touched the canvas from a slicing right hook to the body in the fifth, just moments after a headbutt opened up a cut on his right eyebrow.

All 3 judges had Tapales ahead by one point, 95-94, at the time of stoppage, according to Boxrec. The Tapales win means the belt is now vacant.

Just getting to the ring was already an accomplishment for Tapales, 25, of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. Co-manager James Salud tells RingTV that Tapales was unable to keep food down, and vomited a few hours later after trying to eat.

“We were a bit worried before the fight,” admits Salud, the son of Tapales’ head manager Rex “Wakee” Salud.

“It’s just heart and will. He hates losing.”

Salud says that Tapales will begin campaigning at 122 pounds.

With the title vacant, the WBO elevated the Arthur Villanueva-Zolani Tete fight on Saturday night in England from an elimination bout to a vacant interim title fight. Tete won by unanimous decision leaving him without a champion to face. An email has been sent to WBO president Francisco “Paco” Varcarcel seeking comment on the status of that championship was not immediately returned.

The fight was aired live in Japan on Tokyo Broadcasting System, but was not televised in the Philippines.

In the main event, Kazuto Ioka retained his WBA flyweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Noknoi Sitthiprasert.