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Tapales, Tabanao relit fire of RWS Stable


PhilBoxing.com




Take a quick visit at the RWS Gym of Cebuano impresario Rex "Wakee" Salud just beside his home in Barangay Prunta Princesa, Cebu City and you will see a few boxers diligently training sans fanfare and away from the spotlight the elite and more popular fighters usually enjoy.

Since it last produced a world champion in Malcolm "Eagle Eye" Tu?acao nearly two decades ago, the modest gym was in the headlines no more and has been in silent mode except for one occasion when ring superstar now Senator of the Philippines Manny Pacquiao trained in there for his rematch with Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera in 2008.

Nothing great nor significant has been heard of Salud's sweat shop from that moment on. Though some of his wards regularly ply their trades in the ring, thanks to a collaboration with Thai boxing patron Naris Singwangcha, fans apparently paid less attention to the RWS boxers while others may not even know them at all.

That setting may drastically change with the arrival of Neil John Tabanao (9-1, 6KOs) and Marlon Tapales, who descended out of nowhere to become harbingers of good omen that brought Salud's storied stable back to the limelight.

The 22-year-old Tabanao from Panabo City, Davao del Norte pulled off a smashing third-round knockout of Australian prospect Ibrahim Balla to win the WBO Oriental featherweight title last June 11 at the Bendigo Stadium in Victoria, Australia.

Six weeks later, the 24-year-old Tapales (29-2, 12KOs) of Lala, Lanao del Norte stormed into worldwide fame when he courageously survived two knockdowns in the fifth round to batter two-time world champion Pungluang Sor Singhyu of Thailand into submission in the 11th round and snatch the WBO bantamweight crown just last Wednesday at the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya.

Having two titlists at the same time coupled with a bunch of virtually unknown yet promising fighters somehow heralds a new era for Salud.

And without doubt, the back-to-back conquests of Tapales and Tabanao even on enemy lines has restored the once lofty reputation of RWS Stable as a respectable breeding ground of world boxing champions.---EBV


Newly minted world champion Marlon Tapales (C) is being welcomed by supporters up his arrival in Cebu Thursday.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel B. Villaruel.


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