Get ready to rumble for title bonanza
Hong Kong's Rex Tso and China's Zou Shiming could fight for separate world belts on the same night in November, says promoter Bob Arum
China's Zou Shiming and Hong Kong's Rex Tso Sing-yu could be competing for separate world titles on the same power-packed evening in November after both fighters won their latest bouts by knockouts in Ring of Gold, according to Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum.
Impressed by Zou and Tso's victories on Saturday at the sold-out CotaiArena, the code's foremost promoter said there was every possibility that Zou and Tso would fight on the same night.
"Zou will be moving to 10 rounds [in his next fight] leading up to a world title fight. We are also shooting for Rex to compete for a world title by the end of the year.
"If everything works out with Tso and his management team, we might have dual world title [fights] on the same night. That would be absolutely great," said Arum.
The 82-year-old American promoter had indicated that he was lining up 32-year-old Zou, a two-time Olympic gold medallist (4-0, 1 KO), for a world title fight, but Arum gave the strongest hint that he also wanted the unbeaten Hong Kong star (12-0, 8 KOs) to share top billing in November.
Arum was speaking after watching both Zou and Tso win their bouts in Ring of Gold inside the distance.
Zou stayed unbeaten in four pro fights after knocking out Thailand's Yokthong Kokietgym in seven rounds for his first pro knockout success, while Tso scored an equally impressive eighth-round knockout of Japanese ace Mako Matsuyama.
Tso retained his WBC Asia Continental super flyweight title and also snatched the vacant WBO Asia-Pacific junior bantamweight title. Tso currently holds three belts, including the UBO Asia-Pacific title.
"I have to commend Rex. When I first saw him fight [last year in July in Macau], he wasn't so great. But he has made great improvements," said Arum.
Tso will be eyeing dethroning Japan's IBF (International Boxing Federation) super flyweight world champion Diaki Kameda (29-4, 18 KOs). Zou is being lined up to fight for the IBF flyweight title against holder Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand.
Tso's manager and trainer, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said the IBF championships' chairman, Lindsey Tucker, was also interested in setting up a world title fight for Tso by the end of the year.
"Rex's IBF ranking would have to move into the top 15 for him to contend for a world title. He will fight two more fights and if he wins both of them, he will probably earn a world title shot.
"The IBF wants us to contend for the IBF Asia-Pacific title first to move him up the ranking list," said Lau, who acknowledged that Tso's latest win would put him in the WBC top-10 rankings.
"We are trying to arrange for Rex to fight in Hong Kong in May for that title [IBF Asia-Pacific], but it all depends on whether we can find sponsorship," he added.
Arum said he hoped to include Tso in Top Rank's next extravaganza at the CotaiArena on May 31 on a night that is likely to see the Philippines' Nonito Donaire Jnr attempt to win a world title in his fourth division against IBF featherweight titleholder Simphiwe Vetyeka, plus the return of Filipino-American flyweight great Brian Viloria.
Tso said beating Matsuyama was his hardest fight and that he was looking forward to battling for a possible world title.
"His [Matsuyama's] spirit was good. He was not going to give up easily. He always came forward and didn't want to back down and you got to respect that in an opponent," said the "Wonder Kid".
Zou was delighted with his fourth victory as a pro, saying the fight went to plan.
"I'm very grateful to have a good professional team behind me. I was given the platform to perform and I think I performed well. My team made me work harder and made me what I am today. I am getting more confident but I still need to improve."
Zou's coach, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, was pleased that his protégé scored a knockout victory. "We were not looking for a knockout because when we look for one, it never comes.
"Zou needs to learn how to pace himself, but he's getting better and it was a very good performance from him. We're heading towards a 10-rounder and then it will be 12 rounds. He's becoming a very good pro fighter, but I'm not sure whether he's ready for a world title fight just yet."