Tapales hopes to fight unified champion Akhmadaliev this year

Filipino boxer Marlon Tapales is keeping his fingers crossed that the world title bout against unified super bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev will materialize this year.

Marlon Tapales (Marlon Tapales’ Facebook page)

“I want him within this year. He is a great world champion and is very skilled and crafty,” said Tapales, who is the top-ranked super bantam boxer in the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

“But I am confident my style is a great match to his and I have the arsenal to beat him. I leave the job of making the fight happen to my management and promotion team.”

The Sanman Promotion talent is currently training at the Sanman Gym in General Santos City before he settles for training camp in the US late this month.

The 30-year-old Tapales last saw action in May with a second-round knockout win against Jose Estrella to improve with 35 wins built on 19 Kos and three losses.

Akhmadaliev, 27, meanwhile, remained undefeated in 11 straight matches since starting his professional boxing career last March 2018.

The Uzbek southpaw won the World Boxing Association and IBF titles last January 2020 with a split decision win against Daniel Roman and since then retained the belts thrice, beating the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Jose Velasquez, and recently Ronny Rios.

Despite the odds, JC Mananquil, CEO of Sanman and Tapales’ manager, is confident that the Filipino challenger can beat Akhmadaliev.

“I am always grateful to Sanman, Knucklehead Boxing, Viva and Shapiro sports for taking care of my career. I have been grinding hard in the gym and can’t wait for this fight to happen,” added the Lanao del Norte pugilist, also the No. 4 boxer in the World Boxing Organization (WBO).