Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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It was indeed a hard, hard climb for the Mindanao warrior Marlon Tapales, who had to get up from two knockdowns in the fifth round to stop his fearsome Thai foe and capture the World Boxing Organization bantamweight crown in Thailand last Wednesday.

Tapales, 24, of Lala, Lanao del Norte, didn?t mind that his great feat merited limited attention among fight fans and the media.

His victory brings to four the total of reigning world boxing champions for the Philippines.

* * *

Isn?t this a golden era of boxing we are in?

That was just one of the excited questions asked following the addition of the obscure Tapales among reigning Filipino world boxing champions.

There were also those who wanted to know who among the four world titlists could be a possible successor to Manny Pacquiao.

* * *

A Pacquiao successor? That is not easy because, in the first place, the legendary eight-division world title winner hasn?t really retired. Pacquiao has been booked by promoter Bob Arum for a big fight in Las Vegas on Nov. 5.

Of course, there were many who wanted to know who among our current world boxing champions?Tapales, Nonito Donaire Jr., Donnie Nietes, Johnriel Casimero?is the finest.

Not easy to determine, too. As world champions, all we can say is that each of the four is a class all by himself.

* * *

Maybe tracing the quality of the last fights of the Finest Four could be of help.

Donaire and Nietes did have relatively easy outings in their last title defenses, virtual punching picnics they had out there.

Johnriel Casimero stopped his rugged Thai foe in the fifth round.

Tapales clearly had the toughest fight among the four Filipino world titlists.

* * *

For starters, Tapales was pitted against the Thai terror Pongluang Sor Singyu, conqueror of a total of 20 Filipino fighters. Singyu was the same body-punch specialist who shamed and stopped the highly rated AJ Banal of the ALA Stable in a well-attended championship fight at the Mall of Asia some four years ago.

Well, this is not to say that the newest should pass off as the finest. But Tapales, who had to go through the backdoor, would shine best with his 11th round stoppage of the Thai terror.

Reports from the fight scene said the American referee came close to halting the bout after Tapales got decked a second time in the fifth round.

* * *

How Tapales summoned courage and strength to come back, floor Singyu, before stopping him in front of unbelieving Thai fans in the 11th round, continued to delight local fans, including those who heard of Tapales only for the first time.

Wrote Rico Navarro of ?Tapales did not win the title via the big-time TV package or promoter route enjoyed by other Pinoy world champs. He was not a featured boxer of the ALA Promotions and its Pinoy Pride series, nor is he under top major promoters like Sampson Lewkowicz. He won through a combination of breaks, networking and hard work.?

He was also lucky to have been handled by Rex Wakee Salud, who has made world champions out of Dodie Boy Pe?alosa, Gerry Pe?alosa and Malcolm Tu?acao.

Last heard of, Tapales was on his way to being signed up by the ALA Stable.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Recah Trinidad.

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