A 23 year old from Passaic, N.J., Tapia (19-0, 11 knockouts) said that he had to overcome Tuesday’s early morning bout with a stomach virus before surviving a contentious clash of unbeatens against Han (19-1, 12 KOs).
After having been doubled over by what appeared to be a debilitating fifth-round body shot, Tapia floored Han, 28, in the seventh round of an ESPN2-televised bout at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas. Referee, Jay Nady, forbid the badly cut and bleeding Han from coming out for the ninth round.
A former sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao, Tapia’s effort was praised by Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman as well as manager Pat Lynch, who plan for the fighter to return to the ring in Atlantic City at Bally’s Hotel on Sept. 28.
Below, Tapia discussed his victory, which represented a major step up in competition following April’s unanimous decision brawl with Puerto Rican opponent Joseph de los Santos (17-11-3, 9 KOs), who has since won three straight by knockout.
RingTV.com: What got into you for this fight?
Glen Tapia: It was a good one. It was a war, right? I’m just a warrior, man. You know how I do. I just want to fight. I tried to adapt to him, and I was able to adapt to him a little bit, but at that moment, I just wanted to fight, man.
RingTV.com: Are you okay, physically, as far as injuries?
GT: I’m not injured at all. I’ve got a little bruising, here and there, but not really nothing. Nothing. The other guy? The other guy? You know, he’s messed up a little bit. I think that he had three cuts.
He had the one happened after we head-butted on the top of the head, and then he had the one where I caught him with a right hand under the left eye. And then, under his right eye, he had another cut. I mean, he was cut everywhere.
There was a lot of blood, and he was bruised everywhere, too. I think that when the fight was stopped, it was warranted. I actually wanted him to come out for maybe one more round, because I think that I would have stopped him.”
GT: Actually, I’m not happy about my overall performance. I am happy with what I know has happened, which is that I got through it. But I’m really not happy with the overall performance.
What I know is that I got sick on Tuesday. I had a big stomach virus. At about 1 a.m. in the morning, I started to throw up like crazy, and then, at about 4 in the morning, and again at 6 in the morning.
It kept happening, over and over again. I had to fly out to Las Vegas at 9 a.m. So at 6 a.m., I called my coach and I’m like, “Yo, I don’t know what the f___ is happening,” like, “What the hell.”
I told my strength and conditioning coach, and I said, “Yo, my stomach is going crazy, I just keep on throwing up.” I was so drained at the time. It was a big, big stomach virus.
It was crazy how I was feeling, but I’m glad that I finally got through it. I didn’t tell anybody but my coach. I didn’t tell my manager because I didn’t want nobody to know.
I just didn’t want that to be an excuse for them to call of the fight, because I knew that I could still fight and bit down and I got through it.
RingTV.com: What is your assessment of your performance?
GT: I’m going to say that my jab was kind of good, but my hands were down too much. A lot. I feel like I was a little fatigued and I put my hands down too much.
I was putting my head down a little bit too much. I didn’t like that. I got hit too much. So, that’s a lesson that I have to work on a little bit more.
RingTV.com: Did you feel his power?
GT: It was in the fifth round where he caught me with a body shot. I actually bent down, but people thought that I was hurt, but I bent over because I thought that he was going to grab me, you know?
So, I bent over and I was going to stop, so I think people thought that I was really hurt over that body shot, but I was good. It really wasn’t nothing.
GT: Whatever. Whatever they do, I’m ready. I’ll most definitely be ready by then. I wanted to get right back into the gym this Wednesday, but I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks.
If I could, though, I’d go back on Wednesday, but my coach actually told me to stay the hell out of the gym for a while.
RingTV.com: How far are you away from a major title shot?
GT: I’m still playing it by ear. I’m not in a rush. I’m going to let my manager and Top Rank handle it. I’m not going to go out there and start thinking that I can beat everybody out there and that I’m in a position to start calling people out.
No. This is my first 10-rounder, so I feel that I still do not have earned the privilege to start calling people out. So I’m not going to do that.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org