Tapales apparently was so embarrassed by the turn of events that he thought he would not have the courage to face his countrymen by losing the bout.
“I’d rather die than lose face,” Tapales said after his stirring eleventh-round TKO win Sunday night over Japanese challenger Shohei Omori at the Edion Arena.
Omori would have won the WBO bantamweight crown if he had beaten Tapales.
Although Tapales only had himself to blame for arriving in Japan severely over the weight limit of 118 lb., the Filipino champion did everything in his power to make the limit. He admitted he felt like dying by practically taking nothing during the run up to the title fight.
“It was really tough,” said Tapales, saying that he felt like passing out as he was unable to eat anything solid for days before the weigh in.
He even had to stand on the scales practically naked in hopes of reducing his weight.
Now that the bout is behind him, Tapales and his manager Wakee Salud are thinking of moving up in weight, perhaps in the 122 lbs division.
“If he thinks he has to move up, who am I to disagree?” said Salud.
The win over Omori was small consolation for the 20-year-old Tapales who said his determination to win made him endure some of the Japanese’s telling blows, especially during the fifth round when Omori caught him with punches to the head and body.
“But I just tried my best to endure the pain because a lot of people were cheering for me and they came all the way from the Philippines,” said Tapales.
Courtesy of Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks