Naoya Inoue's Possible Chinks in the Armor
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Thu, 21 Dec 2023
Former long time IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas was guest via zoom in our recent Saturday boxing radio program at Radyo Pklipinas 2 (formerly Sports Radio 918khz) and he talked about his preparations for a world title fight early next year in Japan.
Ancajas also shared his thoughts about the forthcoming fight for the undisputed world super bantamweight championship between Marlon Tapales and Naoya Inoue a day after Christmas also in Japan.
Jerwin is scheduled to challenge Naoya's brother Takuma Inoue for his WBA title on February 24, 2024. That fight was originally set for November 15, 2023 but was rescheduled due to rib injury suffered in training by Takuma.
Jerwin assured that he no longer has weight and conditioning problems as he had at the later part when he was still fighting at super flyweight. He said he feels stronger and more comfortable now that is fighting at bantamweight.
To cope with the speed and match the stamina of Takuma, Jerwin said he has been training and sparring with members of the national boxing team most notably Olympic silver medalist Carlo Paalam. Jerwin is grateful to the ABAP leadership for allowing this sort of cross training and lending its ace boxers who are known not only for their skills but more so their speed and staying power which are vital for success in usually extended international tournaments.
Turning to the Tapales-Inoue fight, Jerwin believes our kababayan has more than even chance to beat the highly favored Japanese Monster given his more extensive ring experience and greater maturity. He said Tapales' advantage is his knowledge and composure in dealing with problematic situations.
"Naranasan na ni Marlon ang mabugbog at bumagsak at bumangon at bumawi at manalo pa sa bandang huli," Jerwin said citing his hard fight against the murderous punching Pungluang Sor Singyu for the WBO bantamweight crown some years back.
Jerwin said Tapales also figured in hard, grueling fights against a husky Japanese, possibly Shohei Omori and Uzbek Morudjon Akhmaladiev where he eventually prevailed.
"Si Naoya hindi pa nararanasan ang mahirap na laban at bumagsak at bumangon sa pagkabagsak sa tamang paraan at tiyempo," Jerwin said, adding that out of sheer pride, certain fighters immediately rise up from knockdown kahit na groggy pa sila resulting to uglier knockout or stoppage loss.
"Yun ang bentahe ni Marlon aside from the fact that he has continuously been improving through the years," Jerwin concluded. Jerwin said he had sparred with Tapales before and he swears that the Tapales he has sparred lately is a far different Tapales than before.
One factor that Jerwin failed to point out is Inoue's aversion and inexperience fighting southpaws like himself and Marlon Tapales.
A few years back, as Bob Arum himself confirmed, there was a plan to pit Inoue in defense of his IBF bantamweight title against then streaking IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas. Nothing come out of it and it could be Jerwin being a difficult southpaw.
Naoya's aversion to fighting southpaw could be traced to his amateur years where he lost twice to a Cuban lefty Yosvany Veitia Soto, once by a whitewash score.
Tapales will only be the third southpaw fighter that Inoue is fighting. Inoue had faced Carlos Payano and Michael Dasmariñas and he blitzed them both, perhaps out of fear that those two might pose stylistic problem once they got going with their lefty styles. Hindi na pinaporma.
But hopefully it will be different with Marlon Tapales who is used to fighting different styles including difficult lefty like himself in Akhmadaliev.
With his ring intelligence and smart and southpaw fighting style complimenting his much improved boxing skill and vaunted punching power, Marlon Tapales could indeed live up to his moniker as the "Maranding Nightmare" to Naoya.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at email@example.com and by phone 09215309477.
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