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Japan knocks

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Tapales gets calls for 1st defense.

Moments after Marlon Tapales stunned Thai fans with an emphatic knockout of Pungluang Sor Singyu on Wednesday in Ayutthaya, the mobile phone of boxing manager Wakee Salud started ringing like crazy.

As Salud picked up one call after another from just about everywhere, there were also text messages to acknowledge and answer.

But there was one that stood out.

“There’s an offer for us to fight in Japan,” Salud told TEMPO as Tapales listened intently from a distance.

“It involves good money but we are not in a rush yet to sign (a contract),” said Salud, noting that he would like his 24-year-old prized find to savor his 11th round knockout victory.

Details are still a bit sketchy but Salud, who has now produced four world champions, admits that it would be ideal for Tapales to make a choice defense sometime in late-October, November or December.

In snatching Sor Singyu’s World Boxing Organization bantam belt, Tapales earned $37,000.

The offer that Salud bared is in six figures, a reward for winning the title in style.

But Tapales isn’t the type to take the bait easily, opting to play hard-to-get as they are now in a position to dictate terms.

“We’re in charge now,” said Tapales, echoing Salud’s sentiments.

In the runup to the conquest of Sor Singyu, Team Tapales was made to endure road trips to nearby provinces as part of their contractual obligations.

While the venue of the media gigs and official weigh-in were less than 100 kilometers from Tapales’ hotel in the Sukhumvit area, the ghastly traffic conditions made it possible for a typical one hour journey to stretch to as much as three hours.

What made it even worse was the Thai promoters’ unprofessional treatment of Tapales’ camp.

In the duration of Team Tapales’ five-day stay, One Songchai Promotions just allotted $100 for food (lunch and dinner) for a party of five.

“When we made the computation, each team member had only $3 per meal,” said Salud, whose plea fell on deaf ears.

Salud even had to lease a van to allow them to move around with the help of Thai matchmaker Narong Hertrakul, a frequent Manila visitor.

“Imagine, this is a world title fight and the treatment was like this.”

No wonder, Salud was filled with excitement when he leaned about the offer to fight in Japan.