Marlon Tapales is back in the Philippines for the final stage of his training camp. He is set to take on pound for pound king Naoye Inoue in a bantamweight unification fight on December 26th.
The odds are stacked against Tapales who is travelling to Tokyo to take on an opponent regarded as being the best in the world. He is currently at the Shape Up Gym in Baguio, a camp Manny Pacquiao has used to prepare for several fights in the past.
Tapales had an unexpected visitor this week when Eduard Folayang stopped by to offer his support. The MMA veteran knows what it takes to upset the odds by beating a Japanese opponent.
In 2019 he stopped Shinya Aoki to win the ONE Championship lightweight title:
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) November 12, 2016
While Aoki is an Asian MMA legend you can’t compare him to Inoue. The Japanese fighter has never lost and will be on home soil when he faces Tapales.
But Folayang had some words of advice for Tapales,
“I was in the same situation seven years ago. I know what he’s going through as an athlete, especially if you’re being labelled as an underdog. The pressure will always be there. It’s all about finding motivation in it, finding perspective, knowing that there are a lot at stake in the fight.”
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Tapales had been training at the Knucklehead Gym in Las Vegas for several months. He is now back in the Philippines for the last leg of his fight camp and has decided to head to the high altitude of Baguio.
Pacquiao was a regular visitor to Baguio before his political ambitions started to overshadow his boxing career. Freddie Roach was so impressed with one of the trainers at Shape Up, Marvin Somodio that he decided to offer him a full time job at his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Tapales’ fight with Inoue will be the biggest moment of his career. Folayang knows what it takes to seize these moments and will be hoping the 31 year old can benefit from his advice.