MARLON Tapales lost his battle with the weighing scale, but not inside the ring.
Stripped of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight crown Saturday after failing to make the weight, Tapales denied the bid of Japanese challenger Shohei Omori to succeed him after scoring a technical knockout win on Sunday at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.
The 25-year-old native of Tubod, Lanao del Norte decked his Japanese foe in the closing seconds of the 10th round, then forced the referee to stop the fight with 16 seconds left in the penultimate round, as per a report by Japan-based sportswriter and promoter Joe Koizumi.
The win restored a sense of pride for the Filipino warrior, who tipped the scale at 120 pounds during the official weigh-in that led to him being stripped of his 118-lbs belt.
Until the end of the ninth round, all of the three judges had Omori leading by identical scores of 86-85, according to Koizumi.
A win by Omori would have made him the new WBO champion.
Tapales improved to 30-2 record with 13 KOs as he repeated over Omori, who he also stopped in the second round during their title eliminator fight in Kyoto, Japan two years ago.
By the end of the bout, Tapales was left bleeding from a cut over his right eyebrow.
The Japanese challenger also had a gash over his left eyelid as he fell to 18-2 overall, including 13 KOs.