Zolani Tete v Victor Ruiz Photo Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough –

By:  Herman Gibbs –

CAPE TOWN – Eastern Cape bantamweight Zolani ‘Last Born’ Tete oozed class over 12 rounds on his way to an emphatic points win over Filipino Arthur Villanueva on Saturday’s ‘City of Champions’ card at Leicester Arena, England.

The fight was a title eliminator for the WBO bantamweight crown held by Filipino Marlon Tapales who claimed the belt last July. Tete was in command from the opening bell and in the 11th round, he dropped Villanueva.

After 12 rounds, Tete was declared the unanimous points winner with scores of 120-107 and 119-108 (twice). Despite the huge margins, the fight was not one-sided but on the occasions when Villanueva broke through his opponent’s defences, Tete responded almost immediately with telling counter-punches to wrest back the initiative.



Frank Warren 

 Tete is putting on a masterclass here in Leicester! Heading towards another belt.”


Meanwhile, in an interesting development, WBO President Francisco ‘Paco’ Valcarcel, announced before the start of the bout that Tapales had been stripped of the title because he failed to make weight at the weigh-in for his scheduled defence against Japan’s Shohei Omori on Sunday in Osaka Japan.

As Tete’s bout against Villanueva was originally scheduled to be an elimination bout to determine the mandatory challenger for the WBO bantamweight title, it was elevated to an interim title fight. In the event of Omori winning, he’ll be declared the champion.

Previously, the Mdantsane-born Tete, 29, won the IBF super flyweight title in December 2015. Tete fights under the banner of British promoter Frank Warren. During the pre-fight announcements, Tete and one of his cornermen wore a T-shirt bearing the late Nick Durandt’s photo with the words RIP. A few years ago, Tete was trained by Durandt.



By Joe Koizumi

Overweight ex-WBO bantam champ Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13 KOs), 120, crashed the dream and ambition of Shohei Omori (18-2, 13 KOs), 117.5, to win the WBO belt when he finally caught up with the taller Japanese southpaw, dropped him in the closing second of the tenth and halted him at 0:16 of the eleventh round on Sunday in Osaka, Japan. Until before the tenth Omori was leading on points—all 86-85, but all the tallies after Tapales badly decking Omori in the tenth were identically 95-94 for Tapales.

The Filipino lefty forfeited his belt since he failed to make the 118-pound class limit, and his victory left the WBO belt vacant. It was a gory competitive affair with Tapales bleeding from a cut over the right eyebrow in the fourth and Omori from a gash over the left eyelid in the seventh on.

The referee was Celestino Ruiz (US), and the judges were Levis Martinez, John Madfis (both US), and David Singh (Panama). The WBO supervisor was Rolando Marcos Hermoso (Panama).




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.



Report, photos by Joe Koizumi

Inoue brothers will appear in the same show to fight for the WBO belts in Tokyo on December 30. It was announced by Ohashi Promotions on Wednesday. WBO junior bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue (11-0, 9 KOs), making his fourth defense, will face former WBA titlist, veteran compatriot Kohei Kono (32-9-1, 13 KOs) in a sensational matchup. His younger brother, Takuma Inoue (8-0, 2 KOs), only 20, will have an ambitious crack at the WBO bantam throne against Filipino hard-punching southpaw Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12 KOs). Also, IBF junior flyweight titleholder Akira Yaegashi (24-5, 12 KOs) will appear on the same card. An elongated southpaw, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Satoshi Shimizu (1-0, 1 KO)will fight his second pro bout on the undercard.

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By James Goyder

The title fight between Pungluang Sor Singyu and Marlon Tapales has been more than a year in the making and it didn’t disappoint with both men trading knockdowns before the Filipino turned the tables on the Thai to score a spectacular 11th round stoppage.

The long awaited fight took place at the Ayutthaya City park and neither man was able to gain a definitive advantage in the early exchanges. However Tapales’ superior speed was evident in the first two rounds as he looked to land quick combinations before circling away.

In round three Pungluang started to apply more pressure and succeeded in trapping the Flipino against the ropes and landing three right hands in quick succession. Tapales circled out and answered with a quick combination of his own with a right uppercut followed by a straight left cross.

It was Pungluang pushing the pace in the fourth as he jabbed through Tapales’ guard and followed up with a straight right downstairs. Again the reigning WBO 118 lbs champion was able to trap the challenger against the ropes and punish him with right hands to the body and head.

The drama intensified in the fifth as a right hook to the body from Pungluang sent Tapales to the canvass. The Filipino beat the count but he was badly hurt and the champion swarmed all over him, scoring a second knockdown with another right hand to the midsection.

Tapales took a long time to get to his feet and the referee looked like he might be about to wave the bout off but the brave Filipino continued. Pungluang threw everything he had at the southpaw who somehow managed to cover up long enough to see out the round.

The two knockdowns still left Tapales potentially a long way behind on the scorecards and he came out for the sixth round with his left elbow tucked in to protect that midsection. Pungluang seemed to be preserving energy as he stayed behind the jab but it was the Filipino who picked up the pace in devastating fashion.

Tapales started to put his combinations together with more confidence and a clubbing right hand from very close range dropped Pungluang. The Thai seemed to stumble to the ground and he bounced straight back up but his punch output dropped dramatically after the knockdown.

In the seventh Pungluang started to apply more pressure and a hard left to the body was answered with a blatant low from Tapales. The referee elected not to take a point and after a brief pause the Thai continued, finishing the round with a flurry of arm punches.

The action slowed significantly in the eighth and the ninth and by round ten Pungluang had virtually given up punching. Normally a pressure fighter, he spent almost the entire three minutes evading Tapales who landed a few right hands to the body.

At the start of the 11th Tapales landed two left hooks to the body followed by a straight left which crashed through Pungluang’s guard. The Thai was sent flying backwards and it was clear that this time he was not getting back up.

It seemed that either exhaustion or an accumulation of punches had taken their toll on Pungluang who simply had nothing left. For Tapales it represented a stunning comeback and the defining moment of a professional career which up until this point had been lacking only a world title.

The finish came just 30 seconds into the penultimate round and sees Tapales crowned as the new WBO 118 lbs champion. His record improves to 29-2 while Pungluang drops to 52-4 after suffering a first ever loss on Thai soil.



May 9, 2016

Mrs. Pariyakorn Ratanasuban –  Pungluang Sor Singyu

Mr. Rex Wakee Salud – Marlon Tapales

Re: Friendly Reminder re WBO Bantamweight Negotiation Letter Between Pungluang Sor Singyu vs. Marlon Tapales


On March 11th 2016, a Sor Singyu vs. Marlon Tapales negotiation letter was sent giving the parties ten (10) days to negotiate. Then, on March 20th an extension request to finalize the agreement was received from Rex “Wakee” Salud. On March 22nd, a five (5) day extension was granted until Monday, March 28th 2016. Please inform us immediately the date of the bout.

Thank you.