Decision time: Rex Tso to decide whether to go for world title in September or wait another year

The ‘Wonder Kid’ will have a week or two to think about the biggest decision of his life as he mulls over the chance of a lifetime ... with the world super flyweight title at stake

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 May, 2016, 2:40pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2016, 12:28pm

Unbeaten southpaw Rex Tso Sing-yu will make the biggest decision of his life in the next fortnight: whether to go for the world super flyweight title in September or wait another year while honing his skills.

Rex can have a world title shot in September; it’s all up to him
Jay Lau Chi-yuen

A day after pummelling South Korean veteran Young Gil-bae into submission with a highly impressive fourth-round TKO in Saturday night’s “Clash of Champions”, Hong Kong’s “Wonder Kid” has been afforded the chance to push his world title bid a few months forward against ageing Japanese WBA super flyweight champion Kohei Kono.

Originally, Tso was supposed to have one last preparatory fight in September before challenging the 35-year-old Tokyo-based fighter for his WBA title in December in Hong Kong. But Kono wants to defend his title at home during the traditional Japanese holiday on December 31, so that means December is a no-go date. Now there’s talk of moving the fight to September, which is less than ideal for the Wonder Kid.


“Rex can have a world title shot in September; it’s all up to him,” said Tso’s manager and trainer, Jay Lau Chi-yuen.

“We didn’t agree that we would fight for the world title in September. Rex just finished his last fight and he needs to really think long and hard about it because this is going to be a big jump. He will need a week or two weeks to decide what’s his next move,” he said.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum was among the 2,800-strong crowd and was also impressed by Tso’s latest exploits in the ring. The legendary promoter is trying to hammer out a deal with Kono’s promoter, Akihiko Honda, for a September world title fight in Hong Kong.

“Rex just gets better and better – Rex is a promoter’s dream. We’ll try to go for a world title fight in September. We hope to build Hong Kong into a major venue for the sport of boxing. Hopefully his next fight will be a world title fight. We’ll see what we can work out,” said the 84-year-old promoter at ringside on Saturday.

Lau said Arum wanted a bigger venue of about 7,000 spectators if a world title fight was going to be staged in Hong Kong, but there were many other obstacles that stand in Tso’s way: the question of sponsorship and the time factor .

“It’s going to cost around US$1 million to stage a world title fight in Hong Kong. It’s hard to find sponsorship. We wouldn’t have much time to prepare for it, only three of four months and we are not guaranteed of winning. What happens if we lose? But Arum really wants it to happen in September and many people who attended Rex’s fight on Saturday were amazed by his performance and really pleased. Rex is so popular,” said Lau.

If Tso decides to wait another year before he earns his world title shot, he will probably fight against WBA No 2 ranked Norasing Kokietgym (19-0-1, 14 KOs) or Mexican-American Oscar Cantu (13-0-0) in September in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Lau was well pleased by Tso’s display against Young with his devastating speed and punching power earning him his 19th straight victory in the professional ranks. Tso is now 19-0-0, with 12 KOs after outslugging the 36-year-old Korean into submission with the contest ending two minutes, 57 seconds into the fourth round.

“Young was trying to finish the fight early and didn’t want to go to 12 rounds. Sometimes Rex took some punishment. He was hit with a big right hand in the first round. He walked into Young’s punch and that was a dangerous situation, so he will have to be careful in future,” said Lau.

“Rex wanted to make the fight exciting and wanted to finish it early. He actually went against what we have taught him and that’s to move side to side and pop with the jab and calm down a bit. If the bout had gone to 12 rounds and with that punching rate, Rex would have struggled. He didn’t fight for nine months so he tended to forget the things we taught him. But it was a great night.”