Aftermath of WBO 118lb weigh-in controversy
By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat, Joe Koizumi –
There happened a great controversy after WBO bantamweight champ Marlon Tapales finally failed to make the weight to lose his belt on the scale on Saturday in Osaka, Japan. His challenger Shohei Omori had made the weight, scaling at 117.5 pounds. His manager/promoter Shoji Omori (no relation to his boxer), at the rules meeting, strongly insisted that the fight-day weight of the overweight Tapales should be regulated because there would be a possibility that the Filipino boxer might balloon to excessively higher weight.
The WBO supervisor Rolando Marcos Hermoso, from Panama, wisely turned down his proposal, saying “There is no rule of the second weigh-in in the WBO. Now that we have no rule on such a regulation of the overweight boxer’s weight on the fight day, we cannot permit or accept it officially.” The local promoter handling the challenger still maintained his insistence that the weight regulation of Tapales should be made even privately between both parties.” It’s because it has been common here in Japan due to the domestic customs that an overweight boxer is forced to accept the upper limit of the fight-day weight based on both parties’ agreement.
The matchmaker in charge persuaded the promoter Shoji Omori, who insisted on Taplaes’ weight not over 126 pounds, to withdraw such a proposal, saying, “We deeply sympathize with your feeling, but should we force Tapales to be under a certain amount of weight, even if Omori should be victorious, the WBO might not recognize your boxer as world champion since it won’t be a fair game.” Should Tapales be 126, while Omori 130 or 135 on the fight day, that’s not fair and square.
Tapales’ manager/promoter Rex Wakee Salud apologized for his boxer having caused such an inconvenience, and accepted a 10% discount of the purse payment due to the fight contract. It might be logical that the overweight ex-champ need not pay a double penalty—a deducted purse as well as the regulation of his fight-day weight. Finally Omori and Wakee shook hands, and the fight will take place as stipulated: should Tapales win, the WBO belt will become vacant, while should Omori be victorious, he’ll be the new WBO bantamweight titlist.
The press conference was held at noon, but the champ Tapales didn’t appear since he then concentrated on reducing the weight. In boxing history in Japan, it was the very first time that the defending champion didn’t show his face at the official press conference by any reason. Tapales fully used two more hours from the first weigh-in at 1 PM, and finally scaled in at 120 pounds at best at 3 PM. The aforementioned meeting between people concerned eventually ended after 4 PM. This very long weigh-in incident might be a reference if such an overweight case should happen again.