Well, it isn't official, but it is just about as official without being official, as Sean Gibbons, a representative for the WBA and IBF super bantamweight world champion, Marlon Tapales, explained that a fight between Tapales and Naoya Inoue, the WBC and WBO super bantamweight is hoped to happen later this year. The undisputed world title fight would give Inoue a chance to match Terence Crawford's impressive feat of being a two-division undisputed world champion.
The bout seems to be set for December 26th, ironically is known as Boxing Day.
“Marlon is known for his never-give-up attitude despite the tall odds," said Gibbons to GMA News. “Marlon has been in Japan four times in his career, he is also 4-0, and he’s going to be 5-0 in Japan when he beats Inoue.”
While acknowledging Inoue's status in the sport, which includes becoming the undisputed bantamweight world champion, and a four-division world champion, along with moving up to super bantamweight and beating the most decorated fighter in the division, Stephen Fulton Jr., in his first fight. Gibbons predicts a Tapales victory as he believes that Tapales has an x-factor that is being overlooked.
"He fights in any given situation, adjusts, and never fears," furthered Gibbons. "He will be coming for The Monster.".
The bout will signify a very rare possible feat as Inoue will have a chance to become an undisputed world champion in back-to-back years. Though much to the surprise of some, Tapales was the one who seemed to seek out this fight after Inoue stopped Fulton as he was vocal after that fight.
Having previously fought in Japan and emerged victorious in all four encounters, Tapales exudes confidence, as he issues a stern warning to Inoue.
“I will be the Japanese monster’s biggest nightmare this coming December in his hometown,” Tapales said to GMA News. “My condition looks good, as well as my stamina, durability, punching power, and quickness. So by December during fight night, I will be better than ever. I will be ready to be Inoue’s worst nightmare."
The bout appears to land in Japan, at a yet-to-be-named arena, but seems to be a done deal as we just await an official press release.