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Marlon’s mission

You just don’t see too often the type of dedication among topnotch talents



There’s one guy I am betting my bottom dollar would win a world boxing title.

That fighter is no other than Marlon Tapales, who had actually reigned briefly as a world champion, but is on the cusp of securing another title crack.

Last week, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) released an order for the camps of Tapales and reigning champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan to start negotiating for a fight being eyed to take place in April.

Tapales solidified his stature as the IBF super-bantamweight mandatory challenger after scoring an easy knockout win over Hiroaki Teshigawara of Japan in their title elimination clash last December in Carson, California.

You see, I have seen Tapales up close and personal in his two key fights.

I was at ringside, when Tapales, an underdog, picked himself up from two knockdowns, to stop Pungluang Sor Singyu of Thailand to win the World Boxing Organization bantamweight crown in July 2016.

I was there, too, in April the following year in Osaka, when he lost the 118-lb diadem for failing to make the weight.

Stripped of the title, Tapales fought gallantly and went on to halt Shohei Omori, to restore his pride.

Since he had been stripped earlier, the title remained vacant.

In a convo a few days ago, Tapales spoke about his excitement to get another title try.

To prove that he is dead-serious in taking the spotlight once again, Tapales stayed put in Los Angeles when he could have easily been granted a break and allowed to spend the holidays in the Philippines.

But Tapales opted to remain in the United States and just days after his smashing win, he was already back in the gym working with trainers Ernel Fontanilla and Ting Ariosa.

You just don’t see too often the type of dedication among topnotch talents.

Usually, a fighter coming off an emphatic win is given some break as a reward.

But instead of jumping for joy, Tapales decided to just resume training, adding that his mission is not yet complete.

That’s the reason why I am banking on him to upset Akhmadaliev in a battle of southpaws.

But doing just that would entail a lot.

Akhmadaliev is an accomplished fighter, having been a 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist, the 2015 world championships runner-up and Asian championships gold medal winner in 2017.

Undefeated in ten fights with seven knockouts.

Aside from the IBF strap, Akhmadaliev also holds the World Boxing Association version of the 122-lb class.

Still, Tapales is no stranger to bold challenges.

His track record is solid proof he can make things happen.