Hong Kong fighter Rex Tso Sing-yu is still two years away from reaching his potential and could then challenge for a world title, says trainer and manager Jay Lau Chi-yuen.
The unbeaten 25-year-old defends his WBC AMCO Asia Continental super flyweight title tonight over 12 rounds at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai against former WBC light flyweight world champion Wandee Singwancha of Thailand.
"I'll give him another two years before he can challenge for the world title," said Lau. "He will need to step it up. He will first have to win the WBC Asia title and then the WBC world contender title before his ranking is good enough to challenge for the world title. He will need at least a top-10 world ranking to challenge for the world title."
Tso is 20th in the WBC rankings, but a win tonight will move him higher up the pecking order. Tso has an 8-0 record with five KOs.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on Rex. He's still very young, but he's all heart. He has a tough fight against Wandee [67 wins, 16 losses, 1 draw], who is extremely experienced," said Lau.
Tonight's fight is the main event on an eight-bout card. Wandee, 33, is a former WBC minimum weight (105 pounds) world title holder from 1999 to 2000, but has lost four of his last five fights. "I really had some good training [one month] in the Philippines. I can't wait to climb into the ring and fight," said Tso, who weighed in at 115 pounds yesterday.
Tso will enjoy his biggest payday with a guaranteed purse of US$10,000. Wandee will receive the same amount.
Lau said Tso could look forward to an even bigger payday if he was lined up against China's two-time gold medallist and flyweight Zou Shiming, who made a successful professional debut in Macau last month. But Lau said he did not think that match would be made.
"The Top Rank people were eyeing Rex when we attended the Zou fight in Macau," said Lau. "There's only a five-pound difference between Zou and Rex. They could fight, but I don't see it happening because it would be hard for Top Rank to promote the fight, pitting two Chinese fighters against each other."
Zou will fight for the second time as a pro when he takes on Mexico's Jesus Ortega (3-1, 2 KOs) at the Venetian Cotai Arena in July.