Hong Kong's Rex Tso devastates Ring of Gold opponent as Zou wins fourth fight

Hong Kong 'Wonder Kid' knocks out Japanese fighter to win two belts, while China's two-time gold medallist Zou floors his Thai opponent

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 February, 2014, 2:06am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 February, 2014, 10:22am

Hong Kong's Rex Tso Sing-yu continued his meteoric rise up the super flyweight division, winning two belts on the same night in Ring of Gold to move a step closer to a shot at a world title.

The 26-year-old "Wonder Kid" bloodied and battered Japanese warrior fighter Mako Matsuyama with a devastating eighth-round knockout to retain his WBC Asian Continental super flyweight title and snatch the vacant WBO Asia-Pacific junior bantamweight title.

I felt sorry for him after I saw him flat on his back.I thought I would be able to knock him out after six or seven rounds
Rex Tso Sing-yu

China's two-time Olympic gold medallist Zou Shiming also had a successful night as he scored his fourth straight professional win, knocking out Thailand's Yokthong Kokietgym in the seventh round of a scheduled eight-round bout, but the night really belonged to the "Wonder Kid".

Tso, who extended his unbeaten record to 12-0 (8 KOs), floored 24-year-old Matsuyama in the second round for a standing eight count before knocking out his opponent - only the second time he has scored a straight knockout in his professional career - in the eighth. 

Tso always had Matsuyama in his pocket as he threw solid right and left hands and it was only a matter of time before the resilient Japanese would fall to the canvas for good.

And he did fall after Tso threw leather at the helpless Matsuyama, sending the Tokyo-based fighter flat on his back one minute, 27 seconds into the eighth round before a cheering capacity crowd of 7,000.

Tso opened a gaping cut in Matsuyama's right eye in the sixth round and he was clearly distressed being attended by his medical team seconds after his knockout. Matsuyama's record dropped to 7-8-1 (3 KOs) after the scheduled 10-round contest.

Watch Hong Kong's Rex Tso in a sparring session Ng Kuok-kun before he leaves for the Philippines

"I felt sorry for him after I saw him flat on his back," said Tso, who required four stitches himself after Matsuyama opened a cut in Tso's right eye in the seventh round. "I thought I would be able to knock him out after six or seven rounds. I took a deep breath and went for the eighth round. I knew I had him.

"My coach [Aljoe Jaro] told me to stay away from the ropes and to keep fighting in the centre of the ring. When the crowd was cheering for me and I won, it felt like I won the world title. I was confident from the start," said Tso. "I am very happy with this victory, but a bit upset that I hurt him so bad. We have to respect each other," said Hong Kong's first professional.

"I was a bit nervous in rounds six and seven. But my coach told me to relax. It was a tough competition but I had prepared myself for 10 rounds," he added.

Zou was pleased to have scored his first knockout success as a professional in his clinical performance against his Thai opponent.

"I'm getting more confident but I still need to improve. I wasn't really looking for a knockout victory. I just stuck to my coach's [Freddie Roach] game plan. I think I delivered the ideal result tonight," said 32-year-old Zou.

I wasn't really looking for a knockout victory. I just stuck to my coach's [Freddie Roach] game plan.
Zou Shiming

In the night's first headline fight, Japan's Olympic gold medallist Ryota Murata stayed undefeated (3-0, 3 KOs) in his professional career. The middleweight, the 2012 London Games champion, scored a fourth-round TKO victory against Brazilian Carlos Nascimento.

"It went really well I thought," said Murata, Japan's 100th Olympic gold medallist. "That uppercut did it for me. I had to end it there and then. I am proud to have put up a good performance," he said.

Fellow 2012 London Games gold medallist, Russia's Igor Mekhontsev, was also impressive in his second-round light heavyweight TKO win over Thailand's Atthaporn Jaritram.

In the night's only world title fight, Miguel Angel Vazquez of Mexico (34-3, 13 KOs) retained his IBF lightweight championship, winning a unanimous decision against Russia's previously unbeaten fighter, Denis Shafikov (33-1-1, 17 KOs).