Tapales World Boxing Champ

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THE Philippines has a third world champion as Marlon Tapales shocked Murodjon Akhmadaliev via split decision to grab the Uzbekistan fighter’s World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) super bantamweight belts Sunday at the Boeing Center in Tech Port in San Antonio, Texas.

Tapales, called the “Nightmare” for his ability to mentally and physically distract his opponents, became the third Filipino to own a world championship belt after World Boxing Organization minimum weight champion Melvin Jerusalem and International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight titlist Dave Apolinar.

“Easy fight … easy,” the 31-year-old Tapales jokingly told BusinessMirror in a video call before getting an ice treatment with coaches Sugar Ting Ariosa and Arnel Fontanilla on Sunday.

Tapales was in tip top shape to convince judges Sergio Cadiz of the US and Jose Roberto Torres of Puerto Rico to similar scores of 115-113 in his favor.

American Javier Alvarez saw it otherwise and gave the fight to the 28-year-old Uzbek, 118-110.

The 36-year-old Tapales—who held the WBO bantamweight crown in 2016—improved to 37-3 win-loss record with 19 knockouts, while Akhmadaliev absorbed his first loss against 11 victories he marked with eight knockouts.

“Marlon [Tapales] proved what I always said that if you have a good jab, you can win a fight with a jab alone and that’s what he did,” International matchmaker and MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons told BusinessMirror also on Sunday.

Akhmadaliev couldn’t solve Tapales’s jabs from the onset and was unable to unleash his killer punches. He hit mostly air and lost power as a result.

Vincent Astrolabio, meanwhile, will be up next for a crack at the vacant World Boxing Organization bantamweight title when he faces Australian Jason Moloney on May 13 in a still to be determined venue.

The International Boxing Federation earlier arranged a title for Astrolabio against Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez but his handler, MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons, confirmed to BusinessMirror that the 25-year-old fighter from General Santos City will fight Rodriguez instead.

Gibbons didn’t state a reason for the change in opponent.

Astrolabio holds an 18-3 win-loss record with 13 knockouts. He scored his latest victory over Russia’s Nikolai Potapov via a sixth-round knockout last December 17 in Las Vegas.

He also beat former world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux of Cuba via unanimous decision February last year in Dubai.

Moloney, on the other hand, 25-2 won-lost with 19 knockouts.

The Astrolabio-Moloney bout is an ESPN co-feature for the Janibek Alimkhanuly-Steven Butler main event for the WBO middleweight belt.

Image credits: Jhay Oh Otamias

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