Two of the best boxers from the Philippines look set to travel to Japan to challenge for world titles in Japan this year. Marlon Tapales and Jerwin Amcajas will be looking to upset the Inoue brothers in their homeland.

The stakes will be even higher for Tapales because Naoya Inoue is the consensus #1 pound for pound boxer on the planet. He recently moved up to super bantamweight having effectively run out of opponents at 118lbs.

Inoue beat Stephen Fulton to win the WBC and WBO super bantamweight belts. Tapales currently holds the WBA and IBF titles meaning that there will be at least four belts on the line when they meet in December.

Tapales is currently in the US preparing for the fight which is believed to be taking place in Tokyo this December. The official date and venue has not been confirmed but an announcement is imminent.


Vacant belt

But the date and venue for Ancajas’ world fight with Takuma Inoue is confirmed. The Filipino is a former IBF 122lbs champion and will be looking to become a world champion for the second time.

Inoue will be making the first defence of his WBA bantamweight title at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, a venue more traditionally associated with sumo wrestling, on November 15th.

The belt was only vacant because the previous champion, his brother, had decided to move up in weight. He won it be beating Liborio Solís in April.

Former champion

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

Boxing fans will be eagerly awaiting updates on the fight between Tapales and Naoya Inoue. That looks set to be one of the biggest boxing matches to take place in Asia this year, certainly outside of Saudi Arabia which is hosting Tyson Fury’s fight with Francis Ngannou at the end of the month.

But in the meantime they have the battle between Ancajas and Takuma Inoue to look forwards to. The rivalry between the Philippines and Japan is one of boxing’s most enduring and those hostilities look set to intensify towards the tail end of 2023.