INTERNATIONAL boxing will make a grand return to Bendigo in March.
A huge fight card, to be headlined by Filipino sensation and former WBO world bantamweight champion Marlon Singwancha Tapales, will feature a selection of top Asian stars alongside Bendigo fighters Brad Morgan, Matt a Hall and Dino Rafaeles.
It will be held at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre on March 17.
The promotion will be the first international show to be run by the California Gully-based Vinton Street Gym (VSG) and will be the first boxing event staged in Bendigo since June 2016.
Gary Connolly, who shares the training duties at VSG alongside brother Pat, said the March event would the first of three shows run by their gym in 2018.
“This is the first professional card we have put on here in Bendigo; we did some amateur nights many years ago, which were very popular and we had good turnouts for,” he said.
“It will be a massive night, especially for our three local boxers to be back fighting in front of their home crowd.
“Some of the other guys on the card like Marlon Tapales are good friends of theirs and are some of the best fighters in the world, so they will want to impress in front of those guys.”
Morgan is undefeated in five bouts, with his most recent win coming against Adisai Chantan in Thailand last month.
Hall has notched four wins and a draw in his professional career, including a knockout win over Chatri Charoensin in Thailand in his last fight in April.
Morgan and Hall have not fought in Australia since June of 2016.
Rafaeles is also undefeated, with his four victories all coming overseas in the Philippines, including a split decision win over Rolly Dorong in his last bout in August.
The main event will feature Tapales in his debut as a super bantamweight.
Known as the ‘Maranding Nightmare’, Tapales has built an impressive 30-2 professional record, underpinned by nine straight wins.
The 25-year-old southpaw captured the vacant WBO bantamweight title in Thailand earlier this year, but relinquished the belt after a successful first defence in Japan due to weight issues.
Tapales will be joined in Bendigo by his team-mate from the powerful Naris Singwangcha team in Cebu, Neil John Singwancha Tabanao.
The 23-year-old is no stranger to Bendigo boxing crowds having defeated then undefeated former Australian Olympian Ibrahim Balla in impressive fashion in 2016.
Also confirmed for the show are Thai fighter Amphol Suriyo (21-2), who trains under his country’s leading boxing promoter and trainer Narongwas Buamas, and Indian boxer Sugar Narwat.
Connolly said there was plenty of intrigue surrounding Narwat, who was victorious in his sole professional bout to date.
“He’s an up-and-coming pro, who is very well thought of over in Asia,” he said.
“India is an emerging professional boxing market and with 1.3 billion people, anything someone like him does over there gets amazing publicity.
“It will be a big deal for him to come to Australia.”
For pre-ticket sales, phone 5446 8175.