Right stuff: Hong Kong’s Rex Tso should use home-soil advantage, says Olympic champion Ryota Murata
London Games gold medallist and Japanese middleweight star, who will fight on the Clash of Champions undercard in Wan Chai, believes Wonder Kid has the talent to become world champ
London Games Olympic champion Ryoto Murata has offered Rex Tso Sing-yu a few words of advice as the “Wonder Kid” gears up towards a possible world title fight this year in Hong Kong: “Use home soil to your advantage, you can win.”
The Japanese middleweight sensation, who will fight on the undercard of Clash of Champions at Wan Chai’s Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 14, said home advantage could play a major role should the unbeaten Hong Kong star (18-0-0, 11 KOs) earn a world title shot against Japan’s WBA champion Kohei Kono in December in front of his home fans.
Tso needs to win his next two contests, beginning with a non-title bout against South Korean veteran Young Gil-bae – the super flyweight’s first fight of the year – next Saturday before the unbeaten southpaw can begin to dream of world title glory.
If he beats the 36-year-old Young (27-5-1), Tso will then challenge WBA No 2 ranked Norasing Kokietgym (19-0-1, 13 KOs) of Thailand in September before earning a historic world title shot against Kono at the end of year, also in Hong Kong.
“If the fight is staged in Hong Kong, the location for the fight may play a major role [towards who will win the fight]. It is possible for Rex to win,” said Murata, who will face Brazilian Felipe Santos Pedroso (13-1-0) here as he looks to stretch his own unbeaten record (9-0-0, 6 KOs) in the middleweight division.
Murata, whose good looks and skills in the ring have made him the poster boy of Japanese boxing, said crowd support could lift Tso to perform to his best and his fellow countryman, Kono, might be up against it, facing a partisan crowd.
“I have seen Rex in Macau and I have seen some of his other fights as well. Rex is a fighter who has quick speed and he throws lots of punches.
“At the weight class he is in, he has a chance of becoming world champion.”
Murata last fought on January 30 in Shanghai, where he scored an impressive second-round knockout of Gaston Alejandro Vega of Argentina, on the undercard of Chinese boxer Zou Shiming’s comeback fight.
The 30-year-old Tokyo-based fighter said he was in a “great” training camp and would be ready for his Brazilian opponent as he tries to earn a world title shot himself.
“I have not done anything different in my training to prepare for Pedroso. I have been training vigorously on my normal routine,” said Murata, whose explosive right hooks have knocked out six of his opponents.
“I do feel that there are areas that I can improve upon. However, at my age , I do not think changing my current training style is the way to go. I have been concentrating on improving what I currently do well.”
Murata, Japan’s first boxing gold medallist in nearly 50 years, acknowledges that he’s in one of the toughest divisions in boxing with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez dominating the division.
Asked if he’s dreaming of a world title fight against Golovkin, who is pound-for-pound the best fighter on the planet, Murata said: “I will jump at any opportunity that comes my way.”
And Murata has a plan worked out if he ever gets in the ring to fight the fearsome Kazakh. “Gennady Golovkin is a powerful and complete fighter. If I have to fight him, I would have to be cautious of everything. I would have to go in with a good defence and connect with my punches. I feel that being patient and avoid getting in a brawl would be important.”
For the moment Murata wants to showcase his skills in Hong Kong as he continues his rise up the middleweight ranks.
“I want to put up a good fight and show the people what I am capable of doing,” he said.