Naoya Inoue to Win Undisputed Junior Featherweight Title Against Marlon Tapales

  • What: WBC, WBO, IBF, WBA and The Ring world junior featherweight title 
  • Who: Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales
  • Date: Tuesday, December 26, 2023
  • Time: TBA
  • Location: Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan
  • How to Watch: ESPN+

A noteworthy title unification bout takes place on Boxing Day when Naoya Inoue puts his WBC and WBO junior featherweight titles on the line against IBF and WBA 122-pound champion Marlon Tapales. The winner of the December 26 matchup, which streams on ESPN+ and takes place at Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan, will also claim the currently vacant The Ring junior featherweight crown. Here is some background on the fighters before we discuss, in detail, the betting breakdown of the Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales bout.

According to The Ring, Naoya Inoue (25-0 with 22 knockouts) is the No. 2 rated pound-for-pound boxer. The 30-year-old has stopped his past six opponents. All of those victories came in title fights. Inoue is coming off an eighth-round TKO win over the previously unbeaten Stephen Fulton. 

Marlon Tapales (37-3 with 19 KOs) enters this matchup as the No. 2 rated fighter at 122 pounds according to The Ring. The 31-year-old is riding a four-fight winning streak heading into this scrap. He is coming off an April split decision win over Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

Before we look at the junior featherweight matchup between Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales, check out our guide to betting on boxing and where you can find the best boxing picks. 

Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales betting picks 

FightersBetOnline ReviewBetUS ReviewMyBookie Review
Naoya Inoue-1250-1667-1400
Marlon Tapales+700+817+625

Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales betting breakdown 

Nicknamed “The Monster,” Naoya Inoue has won titles in four weight divisions during his pro career, which began in 2012: junior flyweight, junior bantamweight, bantamweight, and now junior featherweight. His past 20 fights have all been for titles. His first fight at 122 pounds came against Fulton. In his second bout at that weight, he looks to become the undisputed junior featherweight champion; he is an overwhelming betting favorite. 

Inoue has a fast jab to the head and body. He uses that lead hand to set up his power punches, including his devastating feint to overhand and a nasty lead-hand hook. Another thing Inoue is very good at is forcing his opponent to open themselves to crushing liver shots

Marlon Tapales is an aggressive fighter who likes to come forward. He employs a high guard, which allows him to set traps for his opponent. If there is one aspect of his game that Tapales needs to shore up ahead of this fight, it’s that he sometimes leaps into his punches. To defeat Inoue, Tapales must remove any deficiencies from his game and fight perfectly.

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Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales – Who has the edge

Where Inoue was giving up size to Fulton, he has slight height and reach advantages over Tapales in this scrap. In addition, Inoue has the edge on his opponent in power, speed, fight IQ, and athleticism. Outside of experience, there is nowhere that Tapales has an advantage over Inoue. The one thing that could prove problematic for Inoue is that Tapales fights in a southpaw stance, but there is little doubt that he will be able to adjust to Tapales’ style early in this matchup. 

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Best Bets for Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales 

With the betting odds being so heavily in favor of Naoya Inoue, the goal in wagering on this matchup is to get the best betting value. To do that, one must consider if and when this fight will end. With that in mind, the betting pick is for Naoya Inoue to get the knockout win before the fight’s midpoint. 

Best betting pick for Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales: Naoya Inoue to win via knockout

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent is a professional sports journalist specializing in UFC, MMA, and esports coverage. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent's connection to MMA dates back to the early days when he and his friends pooled their resources to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 1. He also has extensive experience in esports, particularly League of Legends and Counter Strike, dating back to the game's launch.