UNIFIED world super bantamweight champion Marlon “The Nightmare” Tapales believes Japan’s Naoya Inoue is no monster and that he’s a mere human being.
“If he doesn’t show fear, he’s a robot,” Tapales told reporters during his media day on Monday at the Elorde Plus gym in Parañaque City. “At the end of the day, it’s normal to worry, that’s why I have to be careful because I know he won’t be taking me for granted.”
He added: “But I already studied his moves, his style…I took my conditioning seriously.”
Tapales flies to Tokyo on Tuesday night together with trainer Ernel Fontanilla and Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons.
The 31-year-old Lanao del Norte will go after Inoue’s World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization super bantamweight crowns at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena on December 26.
Inoue showed concern over Tapales while in an open workout in Yokohama last Friday that his Filipino opponent would “surely take a shot” to knock him out.”
Tapales—37-3 win-loss record with 19 knockouts—said he also expects the fight to end in a knockout but didn’t say which round ,saying he and Inoue are capable of unleashing a knockout power anytime.
“He’s undisputed and undefeated but that doesn’t mean that I can’t beat him,” Tapales said. “It’s going to be a war and somebody will get knocked out for sure.”
The 30-year-old Inoue, a former undisputed bantamweight champion, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts—he knocked out his last six oppnents including Nonito Donaire Jr. in their first match in November 2019.
Tapales is also putting on the line his International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Association (WBA), which he won over erstwhile unified champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev last April in San Antonio, Texas via split decision.