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Putdown that fueled Tapales

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Pinoy boxer was once told he’d never become world champion.

I didn’t forget his words and used them as a challenge – Tapales.

BANGKOK – An incident in Japan several years ago involving a former Philippine champion played a pivotal role in Marlon Tapales’ smashing knockout victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu in neighboring Ayutthaya on Wednesday afternoon.

Tapales served as sparring partner to the promising Kazuto Ioka in Osaka and Jojo Cayson, who was already based there as a trainer, said something that stuck in the teenager’s psyche.

“He (Cayson) told me that I will never become a world champion and that the best thing that can happen to me is to become a Philippine champion,” Tapales said, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight title belt on his lap.

“I didn’t forget what he said and I used that as a challenge, something that motivated me to train harder and harder so I can fulfill my dream of becoming a world champion,” said Tapales, now 24, conqueror of the durable Pungluang
Sor Singyu.

But taking the WBO title away from Sor Singyu, the scourge of Filipino fighters, wasn’t easy.

Not even what Tapales described as hard training looked insufficient as Sor Singyu came on the verge of knocking out the game and gutsy Filipino mandatory challenger.

Twice Sor Singyu put Tapales down with body shots in the fifth frame and Puerto Rican referee Ramon Peña appeared ready to pull the plug when Tapales came back to life.

“When I went down, I told myself that I will not quit because I thought about the sacrifices and other difficulties that I encountered along the way,” said Tapales, who raised his record to 29-2 with 11 KOs.

“I got my confidence back in the sixth round when I knocked him down and from then onwards, I felt fresh again. I think I got my second wind,” said Tapales, who got back at Sor Singyu by flooring him with a right hook to the head.

“After that, I could no longer feel the power of his punches. I suddenly felt that I could take everything that he could give as it showed with the way I went after him beginning in the sixth.”

Tapales did take control again, very much like what he did in the first three rounds when he boxed Sor Singyu silly.

Moments before the bell rang for the 11th, Sor Singyu’s corner appeared in tatters as the fighter remained on his stool but was forced to get up and face Tapales.

Sensing that Sor Singyu was ripe for the kill, Tapales came out smoking and after landing a couple of body blows, he put an exclamation point to his sensational comeback win with a left to the face.

Peña, the third man on the ring, didn’t even bother to finish the count and put a stop to the bout as Sor Singyu’s cornerman jumped into the ring and his fans began to leave in disbelief.