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World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization super bantamweight champion Naoya ‘’the Monster’’ Inoue of Ohashi Boxing Gym held a press conference at a hotel in Yokohama and said he will face World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales of the Philippines to unify the division’s titles on Dec. 26 at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena.
Inoue, who unified the world bantamweight titles of all the four major sanctioning bodies last December, will become the second boxer in history to unify the titles in two different weight divisions if he beats Tapales. At present, undisputed world welterweight champion Terence Crawford of the United States is the only boxer to achieve that kind of feat as he had unified the world super lightweight titles before moving up to welterweight.
Inoue stopped champion Stephen Fulton of the U.S. in the eighth round to wrest the WBC and WBO super bantamweight titles on July 25 at Ariake Arena.
The 30-year-old Inoue said, ‘’The upcoming fight will be a tremendously big fight as it will rest on the title unification in two different weight divisions following bantamweight. It took four years and seven months for me to collect the four championship belts at bantamweight. But only five months will be needed for me to have a chance to unify the super bantamweight titles. We are making up the time lost by COVID-19 restrictions. I feel grateful.’’
Concerning the 31-year-old Tapales, Inoue said, ‘’While I had had an impression that he was a persistent fighter type, I have changed my impression by watching his fight video. His upper-body movement is flexible and he has a good defense. He is a technically sound boxer more than I had expected at first. But I hope to show overwhelming strength so that I can earn a devastating knockout win for fans.’’
In this connection, the gym’s head Hideyuki Ohashi said, ‘’It’s the beginning of a new monster legend.’’
Inoue has a record of 25 straight wins, including 22 KOs, while Tapales has a 37-3 win-loss tally with 19 KOs.
The fight will be televised live by Lemino free of charge.