Has Hong Kong boxer Rex Tso passed up the chance of a lifetime? Wonder Kid unlikely to fight for vacant WBO title

As the unbeaten fighter’s career grounds to a halt, opportunities are slipping right by him as he keeps everybody guessing his next move

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2018, 2:59pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2018, 10:56pm

Rex Tso Sing-yu’s long absence from the ring is likely to cost him a chance at earning a shot at the vacant WBO super flyweight title, with the Wonder Kid’s career grinding to a complete halt.

Six years ago, Tso dreamed of becoming world champion in the super flyweight division but he is likely to pass up the chance of a lifetime with the 30-year-old unbeaten fighter no closer to returning to the ring despite almost six months rest since winning his 22nd straight professional bout in October.

With his WBO ranking slipping from number one to number six, the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) is certain to give more “active” fighters the chance to become the 115-pound division world champion with Tso playing no part in proceedings having already turned down an invitation to fight No 2 ranked contender, Aston “Mighty” Palicte, of the Philippines.

Hong Kong’s boxing superstar hasn’t trained and fought since defeating “Tough Boy” Kohei Kono on October 7.

And the southpaw fighter (22-0-0, 13 KOs) then surprised pundits by saying he needed “more rest” after sustaining a badly bruised left eye during his hard-fought technical decision victory against the Japanese veteran at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Tso has mostly recovered from his injuries but the talented boxer has still given no indication he would fight for the WBO title that was vacated after Japanese champion Naoya Inoue moved up a division to bantamweight in January.

“Monster” Inoue confirmed his move by announcing that he would fight Britain’s Jamie McDonnell for the WBA bantamweight title in May in Tokyo.

It is understood Tso is still suffering from slight vision problems and that he has been recommended by doctors to undergo therapy for the next three to six months. Swelling on his left eye has been mostly resolved, however.

WBO boxing referee and judge Danrex Tapdasan suggested time might be running out for Tso, with the WBO eager to declare a new champion in the coming months.

“The WBO waited for Rex. When the waiting is too long, they will give the opportunity to the ones who are more active and deserving with the rankings,” said the Filipino official.

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The vacant title could be fought between two Filipino fighters in No 1 ranked Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23 KOs), and the No 2 ranked Palicte (24-2-0, 23 KOs), although Nicaraguan legend Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez could also come into the picture as he seeks a comeback after losing his last two outings against pound-for-pound star Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand.

Gonzalez has a 46-2-0 record, with his only two losses coming against Srisaket, and is the WBO’s No 3 ranked boxer.

Tso told his Facebook followers and friends on New Year’s Day that he was going to take a six-month break and that he was going to announce “something new and big” by midyear.

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“For the first half of 2018, I will be in a state of rest,” Tso posted. “For the first time in many years, I can finally take a real break. I used to have no rest. My body has encountered all kinds of problems and I have to remind myself that I need to rest properly.”

Tso’s inactivity has been a major concern for his camp. Without its major drawcard, his management company DEF promotions are trying to lift the profile of the stable’s up-and-coming fighters, namely Raymond Poon Kai-ching, Sandy Lam and Hong Kong-based Nepali Nibesh Ghale.