Rex Tso Sing-yu took the first step towards becoming a world champion after winning the vacant WBC Asia Continental flyweight title with a 10th-round TKO win over Timur Shailezov of Kyrgyzstan last night.
Tso's toughest fight of his fledging career at last night's "Road To Glory" at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre was also his most memorable after he won the 12-round fight when his opponent, punished for at least four rounds, was unable to answer the bell at the start of the 11th round.
The bout did not start off well for Tso, who was stunned by a left hook in the first round as Shailezov came out the more aggressive fighter.
Shailezov rocked Tso in the second round as he landed several stinging jabs and caught the Hong Kong fighter with a right and then left hook.
But Tso stood his ground and came back stronger in the latter rounds, throwing far more leather than his opponent, but unable to land any solid blows.
Tso jumped for joy and the crowd of 1,500 was on its feet when Shailezov waved to the referee that he had had enough.
"I just stayed to my game plan and took my time because I knew it was a long fight and I was up against a very tough opponent," Tso, 25, said.
"This is fantastic. There are so many people I need to thank. I didn't panic after I was hit in the first round. I just stuck in there. "Boxing is just like a ladder and there are many steps towards achieving success. I'm going for the next belt," he said. Tso is unbeaten in eight fights.
Tso's trainer, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said the Hong Kong star's next goal was to win the WBC Asian ABCO championship, which could propel him into the top 15 ranking on the World Boxing Council list.
"Our goal is make Rex a world champion and I think he has a fair crack at it," Lau said. "We have targeted another three years, when he will be 28, to challenge for it.
"Right now, Rex might compete in a heavier weight category like super featherweight. He needs to put on another five kilograms and use his power effectively."