Hong Kong set for first ever world championship fight: local boxing sensation Rex Tso in historic title shot
Hong Kong’s Wonder Kid will fight three bouts in the city, culminating in a WBA title showdown with Japan’s Kohei Kono if everything goes to plan, according to the legendary promoter
Rex Tso Sing-yu has been handed a “perfect” lead-up towards a historic world title shot in December.
The “Wonder Kid” will fight his next three bouts in Hong Kong with Top Rank coming aboard to co-promote the fights with his own management team, DEF Promotions.
If everything goes to plan, a WBA (World Boxing Association) title fight will be staged in Hong Kong at the end of the year.
Venues and dates have yet to be confirmed, but organisers are confident they will have everything arranged in the next couple of weeks.
However, the 28-year-old unbeaten Tso (18-0-0) is confirmed to slug it out with tough 36-year-old South Korean Young Gil-bae (26-5-1, 21 KOs) in May before the Hong Kong super flyweight tussles with Thailand’s WBA No 2 ranked Norasing Kokietgym (18-0-1, 13 KOs) in September.
If he wins that bout, Tso will then take on WBA champion Kohei Kono ((31-8-1, 13 KOs) in a historic showdown in December, setting the stage for Hong Kong’s first world title fight with Tso becoming the first fighter to box for a world title.
Making the announcement yesterday in Hong Kong was Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who said a world title fight with Kono had been mooted for March in the city, but plans were dropped after the 35-year-old Japanese champion was ordered to fight a mandatory defence against Luis “El Nica” Concepcion (34-4, 13 KOs) of Panama City in March.
“We wanted that fight in March, but we thought Rex would be better served if he got in a couple of fights against a couple of contenders before he fights for the world title,” said Arum, who is in town on his way to Shanghai to attend the next fight of stable star, Zou Shiming, on Saturday.
“It’s not just fighting for the world title that is important, but it’s winning the world title. We owe it to Rex that he becomes more active and given more fights. The world title fight will come at the end of the year against Kono or Concepcion, depending who wins the fight in March,” said the legendary promoter.
Arum said that with the Macau casino business dropping significantly, the former Portuguese enclave was no longer seen as a viable venue anymore and that “it was logical to bring events to Hong Kong and build “Hong Kong as an international centre for boxing”.
“Depending on dates and clearing, we will have our first event in May. Rex’s first two fights in Hong Kong will be regional fights leading up to a world title fight in December.
“He will be better equipped to fight for the world title with lead-up fights. We will use local boxers and Macau boxers. We will stage some international fights, but mostly local fights,” said Arum.
Tso said he was excited to be able to fight in front of his home fans again and wasn't worried that it would be nine months since he defeated Australian Brad Hore last August.
"I have been training consistently and I will increase my training before the fights. This year is a big year for me. There is a clear road to the world title. I will buckle down and really put in the effort," said Tso, who is a Top Rank fighter.
Arum also said Tso has been invited to train in Las Vegas this year to improve his skills.
"We have a beautiful gym in Las Vegas and he will more elite level sparring partners to work out with. We will be making arrangements with Jay [Lau Chi-yuen, Tso's manager] and see when is the best time for him to train in Las Vegas," said Arum.