by Nick Giongco
Osaka—Filipino champion Marlon Tapales hardly showed any worries about being overweight when he stepped out his hotel early Wednesday for a morning roadwork.
Tapales (29-2 with 12 KOs), who makes the first defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight title against Shohei Omori (18-1 with 13 KOs) on Sunday at the Edion Arena, was all smiles as his jogging routine hit the ground.
The boxer’s trainers, Fernando Ocon and Brix Flores, checked Tapales weight before they all came out to enjoy the crisp and cool spring weather.
“125.5 lbs,” said Flores, sounding unperturbed that Tapales has to get rid of seven pounds by Saturday, the day of the official weigh-in.
“That’s normal with Marlon,” said Wakee Salud, who manages the heavy-handed Lanao del Norte lefty.
During his title-winning effort against Pungluang Sor Singyu last July in the ancient Thai city of Ayutthaya, Tapales also had to shed off excess baggage in making the 118-lb limit.
“At the end of the day, Marlon gets to conquer the scales,” added Tapales, recalling the 24-year-old fighter’s smashing 11th round knockout win over the favored Thai.
But the atmosphere and conditions were entirely different in Thailand when Tapales rose to the occasion as the heat and humidity made it easy for him to perspire.
In the next few days, the weather in the Kansai region will drop to as low as 10 degrees Celsius.
Tapales and his 14-man entourage arrived here Monday afternoon from Cebu City.
The Omori fight will be Tapales’ fourth outing on Japanese soil with his last showing taking place in Kyoto in December 2015 where he stopped Omori in two rounds.
But Tapales believes Omori will be a vastly improved fighter in this rematch.
“It is foolish to be overconfident,” said Tapales before resuming his roadwork.