OSAKA, Japan – Making the first defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight crown, Filipino boxer Marlon Tapales won’t be able to bring home that belt even if he gets to defeat Japanese challenger Shohei Omori tonight.
The 25-year-old Tapales came in a pound over the 118-lb limit during yesterday’s official weigh-in and though the fight will still push through only Omori can lay claim to the title if he beats the Lanao del Norte-born fighter.
Tapales was given two hours to go down from 119.5 lbs but he was unable to do so and even got heavier when he came in at 119.68 in his second and final try just before 3 pm.
“I am disgusted because the champion he wasn’t like a professional,” said Omori.
Omori, whom Tapales had soundly beaten in late-2015, breezed through the official weighin held at the Hotel Monterey Grasmere and came in at 117.5 lbs.
Tapales looked sad and lonely when he made his way out knowing how hard it was to become a world champion.
Eventually, the now dethroned champion assured the title will remain vacant after tonight’s 12-round battle set at the Edion Arena here.
“I will try my best to deny him the crown,” said Tapales.
Tapales, who hasn’t fought since winning the crown last July in Thailand, even had to remove his underwear but even that tactic didn’t help him at all during his first try.
A white towel was even used as cover and officials from the Japan Boxing Commission said that Tapales’ weight was still north of 118 lbs.
Looking like an anorexic, Tapales was brought back to his hotel room by his handlers and returned an hour and 45 minutes later.
Tapales arrived here Monday night from Cebu City weighing 128 lbs but remained confident of getting rid of the excess baggage as he had previously done that many times before.
Meantime in the United Kingdom, one-time world title challenger Arthur Villanueva saw no issues with his weight when he tallied 117.9 lbs.
Villanueva is set to battle South African Zolani Tete in a 12-round battle that will determine the mandatory challenger of the next WBO bantamweight titleholder.
Tete, who weighed in at 117.2 lbs during the weigh-in, is installed as the favorite against Villanueva in their bout to be staged at the Leicester Arena. (With a report from Dennis Principe)