Naoya Inoue Vs. Marlon Tapales Breakdown

December 23, 2023
2 months
Naoya Inoue Vs. Marlon Tapales Breakdown

Naoya Inoue will square off against Marlon Tapales on December 26 in an undisputed super bantamweight fight. 

The Japanese fighter knows a victory makes him undisputed in a second weight class, a feat that Terence Crawford has only achieved. His last fight was a stoppage win over Stephen Fulton to become the WBO and WBC super bantamweight champion.

Tapales is intent on making history. He is the current IBF and WBA super bantamweight champion. His win over Murodjon Akhmadaliev secured the belts. The boxer upset the odds with that win, so the bout offers an intriguing match-up. Here is a breakdown of what fans can expect from the fight.

Inoue Vs. Tapales Breakdown

Inoue is the more technically skilled fighter, but the Japanese has some flaws that could get him in trouble. His main weakness is that he goes back in straight lines when he fights on the back foot. Tapales can latch onto that, with his explosive footwork. He often stalks his opponent, getting into position to unload with a jab that swivels or a lead hook. So when Inoue attempts to cut the ring off, he has shown that he can be tagged with a jab to the body or a lead cross. Tapales could capitalise on that when the Japanese comes forward since his feet would not be set. 

But Tapales’ lead cross can also get him into trouble. He often overreaches and extends too much with his footwork when he uses this to start his offense. That can leave him open due to the forward momentum. He also drops his lead hand when he is reaching to connect with the cross, leaving him open to a counter lead hook. 

Tapales’ Troubles

Tapales fights from a high guard, which he uses to block or catch any punches coming his way. This plays into Inoue’s hands since he is used to penetrating a high guard. He uses explosive combinations to get around the guard, or even comes under the guard, by using his lead hook to the body. 

But Tapales is no pushover. He caused an upset by beating Murodjon Akhmadaliev in his last fight. He could give Inoue some early trouble, but his style is tailor-made for Inoue. His overreaching and high guard will play into Inoue’s hands.


“What scares me the most is people around me think it will be an easy fight. For this fight I am dealing with a different training regiment, making adjustments, and building up an image in my mind of myself as a boxer who is dexterous and can do anything. I improved a lot, and worked on counters against Tapales. We had very good training sessions and we have made it to this point. However, I am still afraid of having the feeling that Tapales will take a shot at me. So I will be very careful about that. I’ll be very cautious,” Inoue said 

“I’m confident not because of the weight and division but because of my training. That’s why I know I have an advantage against Inoue. I didn’t see the true Inoue in his fight against Fulton. When he fought Donaire the first time, that’s the Inoue I’m preparing for because for me, that’s when he was at his best,” Tapales stated

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