Political heavyweight John Tsang boxes clever as he joins Rex Tso’s corner

One of the three candidates competing for the highest office in the city offers words of encouragement to Hong Kong’s ‘Wonder Kid’, but stops short of saying he will knock out chief rival Carrie Lam

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 March, 2017, 6:37pm
UPDATED : Monday, 06 March, 2017, 10:46pm

With only days to go before he enters his own political arena, former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah could have been forgiven for sharpening his skills in a surprise visit to DEF Boxing Gym on Monday.

It was a case of Hong Kong’s political heavyweight meeting the city’s super flyweight to offer encouragement to Rex Tso Sing-yu, Hong Kong’s “Wonder Kid”, who will return to the ring for the first time since October in Saturday’s “Clash of Champions 2”.

Tsang wished the unbeaten Hong Kong star “good luck” but he didn’t seek any advice on how to knock out former chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, his closest rival in the chief executive race.

When asked whether boxing was similar to the battle for the chief executive office, Tsang replied: “Boxing is certainly much tougher. I am not that tough in fighting.”

“We heard that you are a good fighter, are you going to knock out Carrie Lam?” queried one reporter.

“We need to wait and see. Let’s talk about boxing,” said Tsang.

Tsang has been a fan of Tso for a few years and has attended the “Wonder Kid’s” fights on one or two occasions.

He posed for photos with Tso, 29, and said he had “100 per cent” confidence in the unbeaten southpaw. “That’s the Hong Kong spirit,” said Tsang.

Meanwhile, Tso was delighted that one of the city’s most famous and recognisable politicians gave him words of encouragement.

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

“He asked me how I was doing and whether I was in good shape,” said Tso (20-0-0, 12 KOs).

“He wanted to know how much weight I needed to lose because he knew I was trying to make weight on Friday [weigh-in]. It seems he knew something about boxing.

“I told him I was 123 pounds right now and that I needed to lose around eight pounds to make weight [115]. I told him that everything was going smoothly,” he said.

Tso’s trainer and manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said all the hard work for Tso’s next fight against Japanese Hirofumi Mukai was behind them and that he was now focusing on losing weight.

Fighting his corner: How Hong Kong’s own boxing ‘wonder kid’ Rex Tso went from lazy to sell-out bouts

“Rex’s weight got down to 120 pounds recently but it’s back to around 123 because we can’t have him too dehydrated. When he started training a few months ago, he was around 132 pounds,” said Lau.

Tso, meanwhile, thinks he’s in “good” shape and that his training has gone “exceptionally well” after his camp made the decision to do the core of his training in Hong Kong instead of the Philippines, which has been the case for most of his fights.

“Having two very good sparring partners who are southpaws really helped because Mukai is also a lefty,” he said

“Sparring for five weeks with them [Mark Anthony Geraldo and Marlon Tapales] was a great opportunity to work on my attack against a southpaw.

“Before I used to fight orthodox [right handed] fighters, so it was good to get two guys to help me out,” Tso said.