Tapales eyes world title shot vs. IBF champ Akhmadaliev

·2 min read

FORMER world champion Marlon Tapales could be getting his much-anticipated world title shot against International Boxing Federation (IBF) super bantamweight king Murojon Akhmadaliev early this year.

“I might be fighting for a world title,” Tapales told SunStar Cebu. “I still don’t know when. Maybe in April.”

The 29-year-old Tapales earned mandatory status after an impressive second round knockout of Japanese Hiroaki Teshigawara in an IBF super bantamweight title eliminator last Dec. 11, 2021 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Following his win over Teshigawara, Tapales immediately went back to the gym in preparation for the biggest fight of his career.

The 27-year-old Akhmadaliev is currently one of the best super bantamweights. He holds both the IBF and World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight belts.

The 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist won the IBF and WBA belts after a split decision win over Daniel Roman in 2020. He has successfully defended his belts twice, beating challengers Ryosuke Iwasa and Jose Velasquez in 2021. He’s currently ranked as the second best super bantamweight, behind World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) super bantamweight king Stephen Fulton, by The Ring Magazine.

“I have seen his fights. He’s very good. He has very good stamina, a very busy puncher and is tall,” said the former WBO bantamweight titleholder.

“I think I can beat him. Whoever makes the first mistake loses. I know he’s training hard to defend his title but I’m also training hard to take that belt away from him.”

Tapales had a resurgence of his career in 2021 after a painful 11th round stoppage loss to Iwasa in an interim IBF super bantamweight title fight in 2019 in Brooklyn, New York. He has won back-to-back fights against Eden Sonsona and Teshigawara, who he both knocked out.

Tapales is 35-3 with 18 knockouts, while Akhmadaliev is 10-0 with seven knockouts.

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