Gabunilas to fight in undercard of Inoue-Tapales world title unification bout in December

By: Glendale G. Rosal - Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | October 31,2023 - 05:06 PM

John Paul Gabunilas (left) and Kanamu Sakama (right). | Facebook and Tapology photos

John Paul Gabunilas (left) and Kanamu Sakama (right). | Facebook and Tapology photos

CEBU CITY, Philippines — ARQ Boxing Stable pulled off an incredible deal after landing one of their banner boxers, John Paul “Angas ng Cebu” Gabunilas an undercard bout in the Naoya Inoue-Marlon Tapales world title unification showdown on December 26, 2023, at the Ariake Arena in Tokyo, Japan. 

This was officially revealed by ARQ Boxing Stable’s strength and conditioning trainer Roger Justine Potot a few days after Inoue and Tapales formalized their much-awaited duel. 

READ: Tapales, Inoue unification showdown officially set on Dec. 26 in Tokyo

However, it won’t be an easy task for Gabunilas as he takes on World Boxing Association (WBA) top 14 Kanamu Sakama of Japan in an eight-rounder bout. 

“John Paul Gabunilas will have him Comeback Fight in Japan as part of the Undercard bout of Inoue vs Tapales. This is announced official Instagram of Sir Ohashi Manager of Inoue. Let it be known, that it’s game time for John Paul (Gabunilas),” said Potot. 

Potot said that they had been training Gabunilas for months now, following the latter’s devastating first round technical knockout loss in the hands of Miel Fajardo last August 15 in Lapu-Lapu City.

READ: ARQ’s Eldo Cortes: Pitting Gabunilas vs Fajardo in OPBF was a needed ‘risk’

It can be recalled that Fajardo scored a stunning first round TKO victory in what was supposed to be a marquee showdown between him and fellow top prospect in Gabunilas. Fajardo proved that he was the better prospect and walked away with the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) light flyweight strap. 

Despite the loss, Gabunilas immediately earned a huge comeback fight. The 23-year-old Cebuano prospect from Carcar City, south Cebu was on an eight-fight winning streak since 2019 before he lost to Fajardo. 

He holds a record of 10 wins, seven knockouts and two defeats, while Sakama is unbeaten in eight bouts with seven knockouts. 

This will be Gabunilas’ first fight in Japan and his first Japanese opponent. Likewise, Sakama, who is the reigning Japan Boxing Commission youth light flyweight champion will be facing his first Filipino opponent. 

READ: Tyson Fury survives scare from Francis Ngannou with controversial decision

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TAGS: Gabunilas, Inoue, Tapales

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