Christmas celebrations will be muted for Marlon Tapales. Instead of tucking into a celebratory lunch on December 25th he will be weighing in ahead of a super bantamweight unification bout with arguably the best boxer on the planet.

The fight between Tapales and Inoue has been booked for the Ariake Arena. The former will be putting his WBA and IBF titles on the line while the latter holds the WBC and WBO versions.

Inoue is universally regarded as the #1 pound for pound fighter in boxing and Bob Arum sounds very confident that he will defeat Tapales,

β€œThe sensational Naoya Inoue astounds with every performance. We are witnessing an all-time great fighter in the prime of his career. He has a very difficult task at hand on December 26th against a tough, powerful Filipino champion in Marlon Tapales, but I am confident β€˜The Monster’ will pass this test with flying colors.”

Massive underdog

Tapales (37-3) is a former WBO bantamweight champion. He is undefeated in Japan, having travelled there to fight four times and emerged victorious on every occasion.

Tapales travelled to the US last week to prepare for what will be the biggest fight of his career. He will be training at the Knucklehead Gym in Las Vegas ahead of the unification fight.

He will be looking to upset the odds on December 26th because the bookmakers see this as an easy fight for Inoue. The Japanese fighter is a -1000 favourite making Tapales a massive underdog.

Moving up

Inoue (25-0) recently moved up to super bantamweight having effectively run out of opponents at 118lbs. Any questions over whether he would be as competitive at the higher weight were completely dispelled after his 122lbs debut.

Inoue beat Stephen Fulton to win the WBC and WBO super bantamweight belts. The 30 year old already had an impressive collection of titles from his days as a bantamweight.

Inoue held the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO bantamweight titles before deciding to test the waters at 122lbs. It looks to be a busy few weeks for the family with his brother also facing a Filipino in a world title fight.

Takuma Inoue will be making the first defence of his WBA bantamweight title in Tokyo on November 15th. He faces Filipino challenger Jerwin Ancajas at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan.