Back to the drawing board: Rex Tso’s WBA title plans hit the skids as Kohei Kono is beaten in Tokyo

Wonder Kid must come up with a different path to a possible world title shot after the 35-year-old Japanese veteran’s surprise loss to Panama’s Luis Concepcion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2016, 9:54pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 September, 2016, 11:53am

Rex Tso Sing-yu’s hopes of winning Kohei Kono’s WBA world super flyweight title were thrown in to disarray on Wednesday night after the Japanese veteran suffered a sensational defeat in his mandatory bout against Panama’s Luis Concepcion.

Tso had been eyeing Kono’s world title for the past 18 months, but it was back to the drawing board for the “Wonder Kid” who needs to come up with a different game plan towards a possible world title now that the 35-year-old from Tokyo is no longer part of his immediate plans.

The 30-year-old Concepcion from Panama City improved his record to 35-4-0, 24 KOs in a thrilling 12-round slugfest, winning by unanimous decision against the Japanese who lost for the first time in more than three years as he dropped his record to 32-9-1, 13 KOs.

Tso, who was invited by Kono’s team to attend the fight, was disappointed with the outcome at the Ota-City General Gymnasium, but said he would continue to work hard towards earning a world title shot.

“I’m a bit disappointed that Kono didn’t win. It’s going to be another tough and hard road to the world title for me, but I am still hopeful,” said 29-year-old Tso, who is still unbeaten after 19 fights (19-0-0, 12 KOs).

“Kono did his best and I’m surprised by his resilience. I was blown away that nobody was knocked out during the fight when they both landed so many hard blows.

“Kono has a really solid chin and although his punches aren’t that powerful, he hits them accurately and fast. He gave Concepcion a few problems. Concepcion has a lot of power in both hands and will be a very tough adversary,” said the Hong Kong star.

“Kono lost, but he still hasn’t lost by KO yet in a fight. I will continue my training and hope that the day will come when I finally earn my world title shot.”

Tso’s manager and trainer, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said he had not lost hope of his protégé one day fighting for a world championship crown in the near future.

“We will have to see whether it is possible or whether it’s the right time to fight Concepcion in future. We had been eyeing Kono’s title for 18 months, but now that’s dead in the water. We have other plans and Rex’s world title bid is still in intact,” said Lau.

“We still have Rex fighting on October 8 and we plan to fight for the IBO [International Boxing Organisation] super flyweight title in March next year. We have a plan B if we can’t fight Concepcion,” he added.

A partisan crowd of about 4,500 fans was expecting Kono to unify his regular world title with Concepcion’s interim title, but were left stunned by the Panamanian’s aggressiveness from the start.

Concepcion scored with upper cuts, and left and right hooks with Kono countering with his straight right and it was amazing both fighters were still standing after 12 enthralling rounds.

At the end of the fight, Kono was nursing a gash near his left eye as Concepcion celebrated his victory by performing a back flip at all four corners of the ring.