‘Aggressive’ Rex Tso shows harder side at weigh-in

The normally calm Hong Kong star gets in his opponent’s face after making weight at 115 pounds in readiness for Saturday’s Clash of Champions 2

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 5:40pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 1:06am

CLICK HERE FOR FIGHT REPORT: Rex Tso beats Mukai for 21st win in a row

Perhaps it was the culmination of the hardest training in his career or the struggle to make weight which made Rex Tso Sing-yu more aggressive than usual during Friday’s weigh-in for Clash of Champions 2.

Normally, Tso (20-0-0, 12 KOs) is calm and collected at the official weigh-in, but he literally got in Hirofumi Mukai’s face in a “stand-off” after making weight at exactly 115 pounds at Olympian City.

It was out of character for the gregarious Tso – perhaps because the “Wonder Kid” had finished nine weeks of rigorous training or he had to shed 0.2 pounds an hour before the official weigh-in.

Watch: Highlights of Rex Tso’s weigh-in for Clash of Champions 2

Whatever the case, the unbeaten 29-year-old southpaw showed he was more than ready to take on his latest opponent, eager to show off his skills at an expected sold-out Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai for the super flyweight showdown on Saturday night.

“I was probably relieved that I made weight that I acted that way. Our cut-man [Miguel Diaz] was trying to get us closer to pose for photos so that’s why I was closer than usual,” said Tso, who mopped his brow moments after making weight.

“I was half a pound over this morning and 0.2 pounds over an hour before the weigh-in, so I had to do some exercises to try to sweat and lose it. Luckily, we managed to do it in the end.

Political heavyweight John Tsang boxes clever as he joins Rex Tso’s corner

“I don’t think I was being aggressive,” laughed Tso. “Maybe I was feeling confident about myself because I have surpassed everything I have done in training camp.”

Tso’s camp has lasted nine weeks with strength and conditioning coach Ross Eathorne saying the last two weeks were the most “brutal” as he cut an ominous figure at the weigh-in.

“I have never pushed a human being any harder in the 24 years I’ve been a trainer,” said Eathorne, who added that Tso managed to break personal lifting records on an almost daily basis.

“Everything’s good. We were always training to increase Rex’s strength. The last few sessions were the hardest.

“He was doing 48 and 49 minute sessions and we were trying to get him really hard workouts to replicate the specifics of boxing movements. Rex has a lot of confidence and he’s definitely in optimum shape. As a trainer, I couldn’t be happier,” said the Kiwi.

There will be three belts on the line on Saturday night: the WBO international title, the WBO Asia Pacific crown and the WBC Asian Boxing Council title over 12 rounds.

Tso will be fighting in front of the biggest crowd he has fought with a full house of 8,000 expected to turn out for his 21st fight as a professional.

But Mukai (13-4-3, 3 KOs) is also feeling confident – and he has added incentive.

The 31-year-old Osaka-based fighter said he was fighting for Japan on the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

“I have the whole of Japan behind me and hopefully I can cheer those people who have suffered during the disaster,” said Mukai, who tipped the scales at an identical 115 pounds.

Secret weapon: Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo helping Rex Tso map out battle plans to defeat Hirofumi Mukai

“Rex was a bit excited during the weigh-in but I can understand that he was trying to make weight. I have to remain calm. I’ve analysed Rex and I am ready to fight a good fight,” said the Japanese.

Tso’s trainer and manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said his protege would face his toughest opponent to date.

“He’s more experienced than Rex’s last opponent [Ryuto Maekawa in October which ended in an unanimous decision for Tso].

“Maekawa was previously unbeaten but he has not fought the kind of fighters Mukai has fought. Mukai has fought in two world title fights and to be on the path for a world title means you have to be good.”

Filipinos Marlon Tapales and Mark Anthony Geraldo get Rex Tso in shape for ‘Clash of Champions 2’

The other bouts will see Hong Kong’s other aspiring fighter, Raymond Poon Kai-ching, against local boxer, Tat Fai-yiu, in the light flyweight division.

Hong Kong-based Tom Taw will be up against Jeremy Lee in a super middleweight contest and Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo faces compatriot Kenny Demecillo for the vacant WBO Oriental bantamweight title.