This 2023, professional Filipino boxers have been losing one after another. Ever since Manny Pacquiao hung his gloves, the boxing industry in the Philippines has slowly been fading into existence.
Currently, we have only witnessed several fighters bring home the bacon, so to speak. Bukidon’s pride Melvin Jerusalem was the opening salve of 2023, and many believed that it would be a good year for Philippine boxing since he became a World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight champion by ousting former champ Masataka Taniguchi.
However, four boxers conceded in their respective bouts in People’s Fighters two months later. Harmonito dela Torre was knocked out by Jadier Herrera, Elmo Traya lost a unanimous decision against Abdul Azizi Ssebulime, two-division WBO Oriental champion Alie Laurel was stopped by Dayan Gonzalez, and Adam Diu Abdulhamid lost to Jesus Gamboa via UD.
John Riel Casimero tried to redeem the honor by giving the Philippines a win. He defeated Filipus Nghutimbwa via unanimous decision. But his redemption quickly faded, reaching a Draw when he fought Yukinori Oguni.
Marlon Tapales was slated to be the redeemer by challenging Naoya Inoue in a unification match in December. However, he was the underdog in their bout, and even boxing enthusiasts and oddsmakers like OKBet favored the Japanese undefeated champion.
Tapales was confident he could give Naoya his first career loss, claiming that he was ready to face the champion. He was looking forward to making history by becoming the first Filipino to unify the WBA, IBF, WBC, and WBO titles.
The Favorite Wins
Most Filipino boxers have been underdogs in their matches, and Tapales’ was no exception. After all, he was going up against an undefeated, powerful, and fundamental fighter like Inoue.
December 26, 2023. That was the date the “Nightmare” yielded his WBA and IBF titles to the Japanese Monster. He could not contain the flurry of punches his opponent threw. Although his defense was up, it was nonexistent as the power shots and jabs all barreled into the face and body of the Filipino champion.
By the tenth round, Tapales was tagged with two huge rights, sending him to the canvas. Although the Filipino had the heart of a champion, he succumbed to his opponent’s power, failing to stand before the countdown.
The Nightmare was swallowed whole by the Monster, although we have to give him credit for almost pushing Inoue to the judges’ scorecards (not that it matters, as the Japanese was ahead in points).
Instead of the Filipino fighter unifying all the belts, Inoue became an undisputed two-weight champion.
Another Title Drought?
In 2022, the Philippines experienced a title drought in boxing. From Nonito Donaire Jr to Mark Magsayo, Filipino world champions fell one by one. Although Jerusalem managed to break the curse by opening 2023 with a title, it seems this year will repeat last year’s. However, Filipinos are resilient, and this lull moment won’t be long, just like what Pacquiao’s MP Promotions spokesperson Sean Gibbons said:
“It’s a cycle. We’re in a lull at the moment, but it won’t be long. We went through the same phase after Gabriel Elorde retired in the late 1960s. We had a similar good run in the 1960s. Then came the lull after Elorde’s reign.”
It might be a title drought, but if you register at OKBet, there is no drought in winning! Register now!