by Nick Giongco
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) has assigned Celestino Ruiz of Chicago to serve as the third man on the ring when Filipino champion Marlon Tapales makes the first defense of the WBO bantamweight title against Shohei Omori on April 23 in Osaka, Japan.
WBO Asia-Pacific chairman Leon Panoncillo told the Bulletin that the three judges who will score in the event the scheduled 12-rounder goes the distance are David Singh of Panama, John Madfis of Massachusetts and Levi Martinez of New Mexico.
Rolando Marcos Hermosa of Panama will be the fight supervisor, added Panoncillo.
Ruiz is no stranger to Filipino fight fans as he had previously travelled to Cebu and Manila to work on Donnie Nietes’ world title defenses.
Tapales was slated to arrive in Osaka yesterday with his team after undergoing a tough training camp in Cebu City.
Tapales won the WBO 118-lb title with a dramatic come-from-behind knockout win over Pungluang Sor Singyu in Ayutthaya, Thailand, in July last year.
This will be the second time they are squaring off after Tapales and Omori faced off in December, 2015 in Kyoto.
In that showdown, which was billed as a title eliminator, Tapales decked Omoro thrice for a devastating second-round KO victory.
Since being stunned by Tapales, Omori, however, has strung up three straight KO wins.