As it happened: Rex Tso beats Kohei Kono to retain WBO international super flyweight title

A great night for boxing as the Hong Kong star brings the curtain down on an eight-bout card with a dramatic victory

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 October, 2017, 5:44pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 10:50am

Relieved Rex Tso continues winning streak with unusual victory

A massively relieved Hong Kong superstar Rex Tso Sing-yu continued his winning streak in the most unusual circumstances after having his super fight against Kohei Kono stopped in the seventh round on Saturday night.

After an unlucky Tso suffered a sickening clash of heads with Kono in the second round, the Wonder Kid managed to win the fight on points up to the point when the referee stepped in to stop the fight in the seventh round after being examined by the ring doctor. Officially, Tso won by technical decision.

Full story: Rex Tso retains super flyweight title after dramatic stoppage

Tso retains his WBO international super flyweight title at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Rex Tso (Hong Kong) v Kohei Kono (Japan) for the WBO international super flyweight title, 12 rounds

10:30pm: Tso is crying his eyes out and must be massively relieved as he hugs his teammates. It was mightily unlucky that he got that headbutt so early in the fight. But he has won the fight and won on the scorecards the moment the referee stopped the fight. He wins on points. The three judges had it an identical 68-66 in Tso’s favour.

ROUND SEVEN: The doctor has been summoned as Tso’s left eye is completely swollen shut. Tso is bowing. He cannot continue with that eye! Fight is over. Very unfortunate for Tso. Not sure what’s happening. We will get the official decision.

Ringside doctor steps into the ring and examines Tso. They go to the scorecards. Rex is STILL CHAMPION. What a surprising outcome as Rex Tso’s unbeaten record continues to the amazement of the crowd.

ROUND SIX: Kono is still very aggressive. Amazing Kono, at 36, can throw so many punches. But will it prove his downfall in the end? Tso still looks fresh and should have plenty still left in him. Referee calls for time out as an official looks at his left eye. But the medical official nods his head and says to fight on to the roar of the crowd. Kono lands a few punches towards the end of the round. But Tso taps gloves with Kono.

ROUND FIVE: Kono continues to be aggressive in this round. He has Tso against the ropes trying to get his punches in but Tso is holding sway. Tso is evading his punches and holding Kono, doing everything he can to try to neutralise a rampaging Kono. A great jab by Tso at the end of the round! Kono is stunned but the round ends too soon.

ROUND FOUR: A more subdued round with Tso hanging on. Both fighters didn’t land any big punches as the Tso camp continue to work on his forehand. You could hear the “bang” back where we are sitting. Tso still looking fresh and ready to fight

ROUND THREE: Tso’s corner has been working furiously on his forehead. He’s not cut but the lump is very prominent. Hopefully Tso doesn’t turn reckless as he comes back. Right hook, an uppercut and a nice left hook by Tso. Somebody next to me says Tso looks look like a Klingon with that lump on his head.

ROUND TWO: Kono is aggressive and is trying to land some big blows but he’s missing them as Tso steps up the pace and lands a couple of good shots. A big clash of heads ... there’s a big lump on Tso’s forehead! Tso is feeling the clash and must be really sore. You can see the lump. This is not good for Tso.

ROUND ONE: Tso lands a good left hook as both fighters feel each other out. Kono clocks with a left. It’s a quick start. Tso scores with an uppercut but no damage. Tso falls to the canvas after a right hook from Kono but it’s more of a slip and there’s no damage! Crowd is crying out Tso’s name as the opening round begins in good style!

9:55pm: The ring announcer introduces the two fighters. 12 rounds of boxing. “Hong Kong are you ready!”, says the ring announcer. The crowd erupts to “yes!” Kono gets applause from the crowd and respect. Tso is introduced to the sell-out, the response is deafening. The Wonder Kid REX TSO!

Fight begins to cries of Tso Sing-yu!

9:52pm: The crowd goes nuts as Tso enters the ring! People are yelling and screaming. He comes in to some hip-hop song mixed with Chinese lyrics. 24 Herb Tea is the group. Not sure. But the atmosphere is absolutely electric as the Wonder Kid makes his way to the ring for the 22nd time as a professional. This is for Tso’s WBO international super flyweight belt.

9:48pm: A capacity crowd of 8,000 plus millions online are watching. The crowd is up on its feet with their cameras as the two boxers make their entrances to the ring. Kono enters to subdued applause. He’s wearing a shiny green and gold top. Even his choice of music is subdued.

9:35pm: The crowd is getting excited as the main event of Clash of Champions 3 will get underway soon. Fans are getting their mobile phones at the ready to capture the moment of Hong Kong’s superstar coming into the ring. It should be a spectacular entrance. Rex Tso TV ads are showing on the big projector screen. This is the main event and it’s two years in the making as the Wonder Kid takes on Japan’s Tough Boy.

Watch Kohei Kono warm up before his Rex Tso fight

Ayumi Goto (Japan) v Kirti Vashists (India) co-main event for WBO female Asia Pacific super bantamweight title, 8 rounds

9:31pm: Goto wins the fight by unanimous decision. Judges score it 79-72, 77-74, 78-73 in the Japanese’s favour. Goto is the new WBO Asia Pacific super bantamweight champion! A popular decision with the crowd.

Next up ... Rex Tso (Hong Kong) v Kohei Kono (Japan) for the WBO international super flyweight title – 12 rounds

9:28pm: Fight over. It will be interesting to see how the judges see it. It was a very close fight. It could go either way.

9:24pm: Kirti finally gets a point deducted this time as she hits Goto at the back of the head again in the seventh round after the ref had asked her to stop. Kirti clocks Goto with a left hand. Any more points deducted and Kirti could lose this one. Last round now.

9:18pm: More boos for Kirti as she hits Goto at the back of the neck for the fourth time during the clinches in the fifth round. Illegal rabbit punches. Kirti might get points deducted for that.

9:14pm: Kirti is surprising spectators with her quick movement off her feet and she’s landing a few blows to Goto’s face, although they are not hard enough to trouble the Japanese. Goto is finding it difficult to reel off her jabs. Kirti scores with a right hook that lands squarely on Goto’s face in the fourth round. Kirti is moving around and proving an elusive target for Goto. This is turning out to be somewhat of a surprise. The crowd boos at Kirti as she hits Goto at the back of the head towards the end of the fourth round.

9:00pm: Kirti enters the ring to AC/DC’s Back In Black. The 19-year-old wasn’t even born when the record was released. Goto enters the ring with a big Japanese contingent holding – you guessed it – tall banners in Japanese characters. She sticks to music from home as she enters the ring in an all-white robe. Goto receives a huge reception as the fight begins.

8:51pm: Receptionist and one time glamour model Goto is heavy favourite against untested Kirti, who turned professional just last year. Goto should easily dominate the fight with her height and long reach. Can she win her eighth straight professional fight?

Takuya Watanabe (Japan) v Leshan Li (China) super featherweight 130lbs, 10 rounds

8:45pm: Fifth round here and this turning into a great fight with Watanabe going all out as he lands a series of unanswered blows against a helpless Li, who had moments earlier hit the canvas after a devastating right hook. Referee stops the fight! Watanabe wins the fight by fifth-round TKO after surviving an earlier knockdown himself. Watanabe is the new WBO Oriental super featherweight champion! Just one more fight before the BIG one ...

8:36pm: Fight begins. Watanabe looking sharp but referee has a quiet word with him after the Japanese lands a low blow in the second round. The crowd is clearly behind Leshan Li who lands a devastating left hook that floors Watanabe in the third round. There’s a standing eight count for Watanabe. Li is cutting a surprising figure and is catching Watanabe off guard with some crisp hooks. But Watanabe is fighting back as the third round ends.

8:20pm: Leshan Li enters the ring to Queen’s We Will Rock You ... points should be deducted for originality. Watanabe enters the ring with a dozen flags and banners, a common sight during Japanese fights. He’s strong favourite to win this fight. Watanabe has been Rex Tso’s sparring partner during the past two months and loves Hong Kong. This is for the WBO Oriental super featherweight belt.

8:12pm: Three Japanese world flyweight champions are in the ring to show off their belts. Japan hero Sho Kimura, who upset China’s Zou Shiming in a massive upset in the summer, is also in attendance. They were specially invited to attend tonight’s bout.

Up next ...

Raymond Poon Kai-ching (Hong Kong) v Frengky Rohi (Indonesia) light flyweight 108 lbs, 6 rounds

7:55pm: The decision goes to Poon. He wins by a unanimous decision. Crowd on their feet.

Poon improves to 4-1, 2 KOs, while Rohi suffers his first defeat as a professional and is now 5-1-1, 1 KO.

Takuya Watanabe (Japan) v Leshan Li (China) super featherweight 130lbs 10 rounds. The first of the three big fights will be underway soon!

7:53pm: Nice exchanges in the fifth round but no knockout down so far. It’s the final round. Crowd still egging for Poon ... loud cheers as the final minute of the bout ticks away. Both fighters looking very tired. Some brilliant exchanges ... The fighters embrace at the end of the fight. We wait for the official scorecard from the judges as the crowd goes wild.

7:46pm: Poon is holding his own against Rohi. It’s a close fight but Poon landing a few punches with his trusty left hook finding its target, catching Rohi’s jaw. The fight stops momentarily in the fourth round as Rohi claims a low blow ... the crowd boos. Fighting resumes. Crowd eggs on Poon ... Poon lands a right hook right on the bell.

7:37pm: Poon has trained extremely hard for his fifth professional fight and he’s out to impress. Inspired by Rex Tso, the youngster from DEF gym has trained in the Philippines and is proving himself to be a popular and tough competitor.

7:22pm: As we wait for the next bout, the crowd is starting to really stream in for Clash of Champions 3. It’s about 90 per cent full with four more fights to go including the main event between Tso and Kono, a fight that’s two years in the making. The atmosphere is electric with music blaring and an upbeat mood that Tso will continue his winning streak to 22 fights.

Tso is 1.4-1 on to win the fight according to bookies with Kono a 4-1 underdog – a huge surprise considering Kono is a world-class fighter and a two-time WBA world champion.

Meanwhile, Raymond Poon, Hong Kong’s second professional enters the ring ...

Nick Frese (Thailand) v Prabhjot Singh (India) welterweight 160lbs, 4 rounds

7:02pm: Singh comes straight out and goes for Frese’s body like a mad man, going for body shots that take little effect. Frese slowly dominates the fight and wins by TKO in the fifth round after a left-right combination. Singh had enough and waves to the referee to stop the fight one minute 47 second into the fifth round. Frese remains undefeated and raises his record to 7-0 with six knockouts. Singh drops to 7-2-1. TKO win for Frese

There’s a 20 minute break and action returns again for the fifth bout of the night between Hong Kong’s Raymond Poon Kai-ching and Frengky Rohi, of Indonesia. It’s a light flyweight bout.

6:40pm: And they’re fighting

Watch Hong Kong fighter Sandy Lam’s interview after her victory

Tom Taw (Hong Kong) v Korphron Sor Bangkru (Thailand) super middleweight 160 pounds, 4 rounds

6:33pm: Taw doesn’t disappoint. He floors his Thai opponent in the first round but the knockdown isn’t counted by the referee. However, Taw finishes the fight inside the third round with his third knockout of the bout, a left, right and left combination that finishes it. Thai fighter lies flat on his back. Fight is over. Win for Tom Taw by KO!

6:16pm: Lots of TGT fans our here tonight as the Hong Kong-based Briton comes to the ring to an amazing reception to music from Linkin Park! He’s here to win his fifth professional fight and to save the tigers from extinction. Very noble cause.

Nibesh Ghale (Hong Kong) v Prell Tupaz (Philippines) super lightweight 4 rounds

6:08pm: Third round of four now, Ghale is more aggressive. It was just a matter of time before Tupaz would hit the canvas. Ghale knocks down his opponent for the second time with a big right. And again ... fight ends. Referee stops fight. Nibesh Ghale wins by fourth round TKO

6:02pm: Ghale has blasted off the blocks and looks pretty impressive so far. His speed and counter punching is catching his opponent off guard. This could end quickly. Just as I said that, Ghale’s right hook is landed beautifully as Tupaz hits the canvas for a standing eight count. Tupaz survives the round though. Tupaz has a shocking ring record 10-32-5 with just two KOs. Ghale, who has been training at DEF, has had only one previous fight, a loss.

5:56pm: Second fight of the night is about to start.

Sandy Lam v Nadya Nakhoir (light flyweight) 4 rounds

Bout has began. Lam is dominating this bout with ease using her longer reach and height to full advantage. She is scoring with some excellent jabs and hooks. This is a mismatch.

Lam and Nadya are just swinging away in the fourth round with the Indonesian trying to land a big right hook. Fight ends. Lam easily wins on her debut in the 105-pound contest. Judges score it by unanimous decision as expected. Win for Sandy Lam.

Saturday night is the night as a sold-out clash between Hong Kong’s unbeaten southpaw Rex Tso Sing-yu and the two-time former WBA world champion Kohei Kono finally gets underway at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Can Tso (21-0-0, 13 KOs) defeat his toughest opponent to date and continue his amazing winning streak and get him a much sought-after world title bout against “Monster” Naoya Inoue?

Tso says he’s in his best shape ever and easily made weight for Saturday’s’main event in front of a 8,000 capacity crowd. The 30-year-old “Wonder Kid” tipped the scales at 115 pounds with Kono weighed -n at the exact weight to make the fight official.

More than a million fans from across China, Japan and Thailand will tune in to watch the fight live through online platforms. Stay tuned.

There are a total of eight bouts on Saturday night beginning with a light flyweight clash between Hong Kong’s Sandy Lam and Indonesia’s Nadya Nakhoir. Tso is on last but should be in action around 9pm depending on how the other bouts go. Last time in March when Tso fought Hirofumi Mukai, which the Wonder Kid won by a knockout, the bout didn’t finish until almost 1am!