Rex Tso v ‘The Monster’: Hong Kong’s Wonder Kid gets offer to fight Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue
Hong Kong fighter’s growing reputation has caught the eye of one of the world’s best pound-for-pound boxers, but is it too big a step for Wonder Kid?
Rex Tso Sing-yu’s growing reputation has ignited the super flyweight division with Japanese superstar Naoya “The Monster” Inoue desperate to fight the “Wonder Kid’ – but the Hong Kong phenom is unlikely to take up the offer so soon.
Inoue is considered one of the world’s most exciting pound-for-pound fighters and is a two-weight world champion. The 24-year-old Japanese won his first world title at only his sixth professional bout and will defend his WBO super flyweight title against Mexican-American Ricardo Rodriguez in Tokyo on May 21.
Inoue’s manager, Hideyuki Ohashi, has been knocking on Tso’s door, repeatedly requesting to fight the unbeaten Hong Kong star “anytime” but the mega world title fight is unlikely to happen because it comes too early in Tso’s boxing development.
Watch: Rex Tso extends winning streak to 21
Tso’s manager Jay Lau Chi-yuen revealed that unbeaten Inoue (12-0-0, 10 KOs) is willing to fight the 29-year-old “Wonder Kid” (21-0-0, 13 KOs) in Hong Kong, instead of Japan, where he has a huge following.
“Everyone wants to fight Rex,” said Lau. “Inoue wants to fight Rex. Ohashi [Inoue’s manager] has given me free tickets to watch his next fight in Tokyo and wants to discuss Rex and Inoue fighting in the future. I will meet them on May 21.”
Inoue had always said he was going to vacate his super flyweight title and move up to bantamweight after struggling with weight issues among other things. The Japanese had also been eyeing a mega fight with Nicaraguan legend Roman Gonzalez (46-1-0) but that fight is unlikely to happen after “Chocolatito” was beaten by Thai fighter Wisaksil Wangek in one of the upsets of the year in New York in March.
Lau believes Inoue is not ready to vacate his title yet, knowing he has a potentially lucrative fight on the horizon against Tso.
“Chocolatito and Inoue would have been a huge fight but it’s off the table now. Inoue doesn’t want to fight Wisaksil. Originally, Inoue wanted to leave the super flyweight division after Chocolatito lost to Wisaksil but Inoue has changed his mind because he heard that we had a very successful show in March,” said Lau of Tso winning his 21st straight fight by knocking out Japan’s Hirofumi Mukai before a capacity crowd of 8,000 at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Tso has been courted by other well-known fighters in his division, too. Northern Irish boxer Jamie Conlan (19-0-0) is also “very keen” to fight the Hong Kong star and recently told the Irish media he was “almost certain” of clinching a deal to fight Tso.
But Lau said a fight against the 30-year-old Belfast-born boxer is not on the radar with Tso having bigger fish to fry, an Inoue bout being a distinct possibility in 2018.
“We haven’t spoke to Conlan’s people. Maybe they spoke to [promoters] Top Rank but we didn’t talk to them,” he said.
Lau said Tso’s next opponent will be announced on Monday.
Meanwhile, rising Japanese woman boxer Ayumi Goto (6-0-0, 4 KOs) will go up against Thailand’s Sumanthar Baenkham (1-2-0) in DEF Fight 15 on Saturday night.
There are 13 bouts on Saturday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre with 28-year-old super bantamweight Goto the main event in a fight card that organisers are hoping to pave the way for young and coming young boxers to break into the professional ranks. Action begins at 5pm.