Marlon Tapales set for undisputed clash vs winner of Fulton-Inoue
MANILA, Philippines—Marlon Tapales, the reigning WBA (Super) and IBF super bantamweight champion, will have his shot at history sooner than later.
Instead of a potential rematch with Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Tapales got the go-signal from the WBA to enter a voluntary title defense, paving the way for an impending undisputed showdown against the winner of the Stephen Fulton and Naoya Inoue championship bout.
The Philippines has yet to crown an undisputed champion in boxing’s four-belt era that started in 2004.
“This bout would be a unification of the WBA, IBF, WBC and WBO titles, which is a powerful reason to admit it for the sake of boxing,” a story on the WBA website said.
Fulton (21-0, 8KOs) is staking his WBC and WBO belts against Inoue (24-0, 21KOs) on July 25 at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Inoue, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters today, is a strong favorite to beat Fulton.
Tapales (37-3, 19KOs) edged Akhmadaliev by split decision on April 8—a result that did not sit well with his team.
Co-promoters Matchroom Boxing and World Of Boxing asked permission from the WBA for a second bout between Tapales and Akhmadaliev but to no avail.
The 31-year-old Tapales is the only remaining Filipino currently holding one of the four major boxing world titles after Melvin Jerusalem lost his WBO minimumweight belt last May 27 following a seventh-round stoppage at the hands of Puerto Rican Oscar Collazo.