Rex Tso seeks to be king in tough flyweight title fight
Hong Kong's flyweight title hope takes on Kyrgyzstan's Timur Shailezov tonight and victory would bring firsts for the boxer and the city
Hong Kong's Rex Tso Sing-yu will be out to make history tonight when he steps into the ring to face journeyman Timur Shailezov of Kyrgyzstan for the vacant WBC Asia Continental flyweight title.
Not only could Tso, 25, become the first Hong Kong boxer to win a major regional title in one of tonight's main bouts at the Road to Glory event at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, victory will also guarantee him a top-30 ranking in the prestigious World Boxing Council (WBC) list - another first for Hong Kong.
It will be the toughest fight in Tso's fledgling career as he takes on 33-year-old Shailezov, who has scored 16 wins, five losses and a draw, with three knockouts.
Tso, nicknamed the Wonderkid, last fought in May, defeating Thailand's Yodpichai Sithsaithong on points in Singapore.
"I know it's going to be a real tough fight, but I am ready for the challenge. I lost 14 pounds from training and I am in the best shape of my life. I just hope everything comes together on fight night," said Tso, who spent five weeks training in Manila under the guidance of the Filipino coach and promoter Aljoe Jaro.
Tso will also be the first Hong Kong boxer to compete over 12 rounds, three times more than the normal four rounds of three minutes each for professional bouts. But he will be looking for a quick end to the contest.
"I'm going for a knockout," said Tso, who will be out to stretch his winning streak to eight victories since launching his career in September 2011.
"My opponent is going to be much tougher than my last opponent [Yodpichai] but I have faith in my abilities. I have to stay on my toes and try to find an opening against Shailezov."
Tso will also be trying to impress Ricky Hatton, who has returned to promoting since hanging up his gloves for good after his unsuccessful return to the ring last month against Vyacheslav Senchenko.
Hatton will be among the guests who will be attending tonight's extravaganza, looking to sign fighters to his stable.
Tso's trainer, manager and promoter, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said Shailezov was chosen by Hatton to "test" Tso, with the chance of being signed by the former world champion.
"Hatton felt Rex's opponent in Hong Kong in April [Thailand's Torsak Singabasak] was completely outmatched and that it was a bit of a farce [Tso stopped his opponent inside two minutes] and he wanted a tougher opponent to see how good Rex really is," Lau said.
Shailezov is a former WBA inter-continental super flyweight champion who has a wealth of experience, including six title fights, and will not be an easy target for Tso.
Tonight's main event at the "Road To Glory Fight Night" is a 12-round heavyweight bout between the American Jason "The Sensation" Gavern and Australia's Lucas "Big Daddy" Browne. Gavern replaces the Briton Richard "The Inferno" Towers, who suffered a perforated ear drum while training.
Starting the action tonight is a flyweight bout between two professional debutants, the Hong Kong-based Nepali Sures Gurung, who came into boxing via Operation Breakthrough, and the Filipino Roldan Bullong.
The event will be televised live on Eurosport from 8pm to 10pm and tickets are available from Hong Kong Ticketing.