Secret weapon: Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo helping Rex Tso map out battle plans to defeat Hirofumi Mukai

Hong Kong’s ‘Wonder Kid’ is not only getting world-class sparring from Filipino but gaining valuable fight information from the super bantamweight for Saturday’s ‘Clash of Champions 2’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 March, 2017, 9:54am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 March, 2017, 9:54am

Unbeaten Hong Kong phenom Rex Tso Sing-yu will have more than just a sparring partner by his side in Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo when the “Wonder Kid” faces his next opponent in Saturday’s “Clash of Champions 2”. He will have a secret weapon, too.

The super flyweight has been picking Geraldo’s brains lately, trying to gain tips on how to defeat Japanese Hirofumi Mukai in his 21st fight as a professional at an expected sold-out Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

Geraldo, a quiet and unassuming 25-year-old Filipino who has his own world title ambitions in the super bantamweight division, knows a thing or two about Mukai (13-4-3, 3 KOs). After all, he has beaten the heralded Japanese before four years ago — a second-round knockout in Mukai’s backyard in Osaka.

Tso’s trainer and manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said Geraldo is providing Tso with not only world-class sparring but also valuable tips on the 30-year-old Mukai’s fighting capabilities and weaknesses.

Mukai (13-4-3) will be aiming to take home three belts that will be on the line on Saturday. The Osaka-based fighter has had two world title fights. He fought unsuccessfully for both the WBC flyweight title in 2011 and more recently for the WBC super flyweight title in 2013.

Tso (20-0-0, 12 KOs) and super bantamweight Geraldo (33-7-3, 15 KOs) have been working on a strategy to defeat Mukai and have come up with a plan that could prove effective.

Geraldo has also notched other outstanding victories, most notably a major decision against current IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1, 17 KOs), the Filipino, who defended his world title at the Cotai Arena in Macau on January 29.

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“Mark [Geraldo] has been giving Rex a lot of advice for sure. He has been telling Rex that Mukai likes to stand in the ring straight and that Rex should go for the body shots,” said Lau. “If Rex can cut Mukai off in the ring, Rex should pound away with the body shots. There are a lot open areas for the body shots and because he’s slightly taller than Rex and Rex is below his eye-level, Rex can get more power into his punches. Rex should work on the body and make Mukai drop his hands and aim for the cheeks.”

Four years have passed since Mukai lost to Geraldo and Lau expects a different kind of fighter than the one who was knocked out early by the Filipino in April 2013. Up for grabs will be the WBO international title, the WBO Asia Pacific crown and the WBC Asian Boxing Council title.

“Rex and Mark have been practising and sparring a lot together for the past several weeks. Mukai lost to Mark [Geraldo] and he then tried to make a comeback. After he lost to Mark, he then lost his WBC world title chance [world super flyweight title fight] against Thailand’s Srisaket [Sor Rungvisai]. He was down then but he got a couple of wins since and he’s coming back.

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“In his last fight, Mukai beat Thailand’s Tanawat Phonnaku for the WBO Asia-Pacific title. Phonnaku is an absolute legend in Thailand. Phonnaku beat Kohei Kono [former WBA super flyweight champion] last year so Mukai is definitely talented,” said Lau.

“There will be about 25 boxing fans from Mukai’s home town [Osaka] coming to Hong Kong to support Mukai. They will be holding the Japanese flag when the two fighters walk into the ring on Saturday,” he said.

Geraldo will challenge fellow Filipino Kenny Demecillo (12-3-2, 7 KOs) on the undercard of “Clash of Champions 2”, the latter fighting outside of the Philippines for the first time. At stake will be the WBO Oriental bantamweight title.

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“I’ve heard of Kenny before and he’s going to be a tough fight but I’m confident of winning,” said Geraldo recently.

The 29-year-old Tso has also been sparring with top Filipino bantamweight Marlon Tapales, who will be making his first IBF world title defence in April in Osaka against Japanese Shohei Omori.

Organisers say about 500 tickets are still available for “Clash of Champions 2” but they expect a full-house on Saturday.