Former two-time ONE Lightweight MMA World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang believes that WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight World Champion Marlon Tapales has more than a puncher’s chance in his latest conquest.
Tapales comes in as the heavy underdog when he looks to unify the super bantamweight belts against WBC and WBO World Champion Naoya Inoue next month in Tokyo, Japan.
Folayang, who visited Tapales in his camp at Shape Up Boxing Gym over the weekend, certainly understands where Tapales is coming from. After all, he himself was in this position seven years ago.
“Landslide” was considered a heavy underdog to Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki when they fought for the ONE Lightweight MMA World Title in 2016.
Aoki was considered one of the most fearsome grapplers during that time – falling right into Folayang’s perceived weaknesses. But the Filipino was undeterred.
“I know what [Tapales] is going through as an athlete, especially if you’re being labelled as an underdog,” he said.
For Folayang, it’s all about finding inspiration from the situation.
“The pressure will always be there. It’s all about finding motivation in it, finding perspective, knowing that there is a lot at stake in the fight,” he added.
Folayang thinks it’s okay to come in as an underdog, especially considering the circumstances.
Aoki, during that time, won 16 of his last 17 bouts entering the Folayang fight. Inoue, on the other hand, hasn’t been beaten in 25 fights and has 22 finishes to his name.
“I think it’s fair to look at the stats and past performances to weigh the chances of a fighter in a specific bout,” he said.
“But that’s why we train to address all of that, to develop and correct the lapses. That’s what fans often overlook.”