February 25, 2024

■  Harley F. Palangchao 

Like the boxing legend Manny Pacquaio, Filipino world boxing champion Marlon Tapales has kicked off his high altitude training in Baguio in preparation for his Dec. 26 bout against Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue.

The southpaw Tapales, the reigning International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association super bantamweight champion, is not taking any chances in his training, as Inoue remains one of the best boxers in his generation.

MORAL SUPPORT — Members of Lions Nation MMA led by former Championship world champions Eduard Folayang paid a visit to Marlon Tapales, the reigning International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association super bantamweight champion, who is training at Shape Up Boxing Gym at the Cooyeesan Plaza Hotel in preparation for his Dec. 26 bout against Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue in Tokyo. — Contributed photo

The still undefeated Inoue, 30, is the current World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Council super-bantamweight world champion.

At present, Inoue holds a professional record of 25 wins with 22 by way of knockouts or technical KOs.

Tapales, on the other hand, has 37 wins with 19 KOs/TKOs and three defeats.

This early, boxing fans around the world are excited to see both exciting fighters clash inside the ring in Ariake Arena, Koto-Ku, Tokyo, Japan.

The 31-year-old Tapales has posted snapshots of his training inside the Shape-Up Boxing Gym at the Cooyeesan Plaza Hotel, where Pacquiao also trained for some of his world boxing bouts in the past two decades.

Cordilleran boxing superstar Carl Jammes Martin and his father Abel, who also serves as his coach, are also training at the Shape-Up Boxing Gym.

Tapales is getting moral support from sports luminaries such as the mixed martial arts fighters from Lions Nation MMA with former world champions Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Joshua Pacio, and Harold Banario paying a visit to the Filipino boxer.

Before coming up to Baguio, Tapales trained with future Hall of Famer boxing coach Freddie Roach at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles, California.

Accompanying him to Baguio from the United States is Sanman Boxing top brass JC Manangquil.

Inoue, meanwhile, also stepped up his training in Japan, but rarely post updates on his social media accounts.