Going the distance? Rex Tso to fight over 12 rounds in next bout against Young Gil-bae

Wonder Kid’s manager Jay Lau is worried his protege’s fitness might be stretched to the limit against 36-year-old South Korean in May bout

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2016, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2016, 12:03pm

Fitness concerns are beginning to hang over Rex Tso Sing-yu with manager Jay Lau Chi-yuen fearing his protégé’s next bout against South Korean veteran Young Gil-bae in May could go the distance over 12 rounds – uncharted territory for Hong Kong’s Wonder Kid.

Tso (18-0-0, 11 KOs) will be fighting for the first time in nine months when he puts his unbeaten record on the line against the tough 36-year-old South Korean (26-5-1, 21 KOs) in the super flyweight 12-round contest on May 14.

The main concern is that Rex will not have fought for nine months since his last fight against Brad Hore
Jay Lau

Lau, who is co-promoting the fight at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, said Tso must blow the cobwebs against the South Korean, who has won 18 of his last 19 bouts and could prove “quite a handful”.

READ MORE: Hong Kong set for first ever world championship fight: local boxing sensation Rex Tso in historic title shot

“The main concern is that Rex will not have fought for nine months since his last fight against Brad Hore [which Tso won by seventh-round TKO last August] when he steps into the ring again,” said Lau. “Rex has never gone to 12 rounds in a fight before. He has always finished his fights inside the distance and we are a bit worried that Young could turn out to be a tougher customer than we anticipate. Young will provide a good test,” he said.

“Young is 36 but he’s almost the same age as [Japan’s WBA 35-year-old super flyweight champion] Kohei Kono and Young has been fighting well lately. Even Young’s wife [Hee Jung-yuh] fought for the women’s WBO bantamweight title last October [she lost by unanimous decision] so he comes from a good fighting background and I am sure he will give his best.”

“The most Rex has fought is ten rounds against Michael Enriquez [of the Philippines in March 2015) which Rex won by unanimous decision and against Kyrgyzstan’s Timur Shailezov [in December 2012], which was a 12-rounder but Rex won in 10. Rex was given a hard time by Enriquez, especially in the last round. But I think Rex’s fitness has improved a lot since Ross Eathorne took over as his strength and conditioning coach last year.”

Tso is currently in the Philippines on a four-week training stint. He returns on April 4 and Lau says the unbeaten southpaw is working on his fitness, sparring for eight, ten and finally 12 rounds to achieve optimum conditioning.

“Rex is getting good sparring partners in the Philippines but lately many of his sparring partners are taking their Easter break, so he is finding it hard to find partners during this time. But he’s improving a lot and he’s looking forward to the fight,” said Lau.

Young is Tso’s first opponent this year as the unbeaten 28-year-old southpaw tries to land a historic world title shot against Kono (31-8-1) in December. Victory against Young in May will stretch the Wonder Kid’s record to 19-0 and put Tso in the firing line against WBA No 2 ranked Norasing Kokietgym (18-0-1, 13 KOs) of Thailand in September also in Hong Kong. If everything goes to plan, Tso will then get his world title fight with Kono for the WBA super flyweight title also before his home fans.