■ Harley F. Palangchao
Filipino world champions across various disciplines gave their support to former world champion Marlon Tapales following his defeat against Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue in their super bantamweight unification bout on Dec. 26 at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Among those who extended their congratulations to Tapales for his display of gallantry in the ring is regional champion Carl Jammes Martin, who also trained with the former at the Shape-Up Gym at the Cooyeesan Plaza Hotel in Baguio City for the world bout.
Former two-time ONE lightweight world champion Eduard Folayang and the rest of the gang at Lions Nation MMA also extended their post-fight appreciation to Tapales, 31, who hails from Lanao del Norte.
Team Lakay led by coach Mark Sangiao also congratulated Tapales for his good showing against one of the most dominant boxers in his era.
Other former and current Filipino boxing champions here and overseas alsoshowed their support.
The Filipino boxer, a former World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation super bantamweight world champion, suffered a technical knockout loss to Inoue in the 10th round before a roaring Japanese-dominated crowd.
The Japanese boxer, who has unified the WBA, IBF, World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization belts, with two consecutive left dropped the Filipino champion and never recovered. The referee stopped the fight at 1:02 mark in the 10th round.
Inoue first dropped Tapales in the fourth round but the Filipino boxer displayed agility towards the succeeding rounds.
Inoue has improved his record to 26 wins against zero loss with 23 by way of stoppage while Tapales dropped to 37-4.
It is the second time that Inoue has won all four world titles in a division, the first Asian boxer to do so, after unifying the bantamweight belts in December before he relinquished them to move up in weight.
CompuBox statistics showed that Inoue landed 146 total punches to only 52 for Tapales.