Tapales Targets Naoya Inoue: “I Can Prove That I Can Be Pound For Pound”

Marlon Tapales Puts Naoya Inoue on his Hitlist

Marlon Tapales wants a bout with Naoya Inoue
Marlon Tapales (L, Twitter), Naoya Inoue

Marlon Tapales Hopeful of Facing Naoya Inoue for Undisputed

Filipino Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KOs) scored one of boxing’s upsets of the year on April 8 when he defeated Murodjon Akhmadaliev by a split decision to win the IBF and WBA junior featherweight titles. The new unified champion already has his sights on who he wants next. For him, that’s a showdown with Naoya “Monster” Inoue (24-0, 21 KOs). During an interview with Ring TV, Tapales explained why he wants to fight Monster.

“Everybody wants to fight him, including me. I’m a champion now, so I feel I’ve got a ticket to fight him too, so I can prove that I can be pound for pound like him.”

Inoue has become the money man in the lower-weight divisions. The 30-year-old fighter from Japan is a three-division champion and is a fighter who has worldwide appeal. In his last outing, Inoue toyed with Paul Butler before stopping him in eleven rounds to become the undisputed bantamweight champion. On July 25, Inoue is set to face the other unified champion in the junior featherweight division, Stephen “Cool Boy Steph” Fulton Jr (21-0, 8 KOs), in Tokyo, Japan.


Tapales plans to be in attendance for that contest. His co-promoter, Sean Gibbons, told Ring TV that he’s had preliminary discussions with Inoue’s representatives about a matchup between his fighter and Inoue in either November or December. As it stands right now, Tapales is not due to make a mandatory defense until early 2024. So, the Filipino has a window of time for him to seek a fight with Inoue.

This is all contingent on the Japanese superstar taking care of business against Fulton. Team Tapales are hopeful that is the case. A Tapales – Inoue fight for undisputed status at the end of 2023 would mean the biggest match of Tapales’s career and his biggest payday.

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About Mike W.1961 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.