Rex Tso’s super fight against Naoya ‘Monster’ Inoue moves closer to reality

The Japanese superstar pummels his latest victim in Tokyo as March 2018 looms as a possible date for the Wonder Kid’s super bout against one of the world’s most brutal punchers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 May, 2017, 9:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 May, 2017, 8:33pm

The manager and promoter of Hong Kong star Rex Tso Sing-yu said he was duty bound to “make it happen” as a possible super fight against Naoya “Monster” Inoue became more of a reality after the Japanese superstar pummelled his latest victim in Tokyo on Sunday night.

Jay Lau Chi-yuen, who is also head trainer of the Wonder Kid, was at ringside to watch the Monster gobble up his 13th opponent with a sensational third-round knockout of Mexican-American Ricardo Rodriguez to retain his WBO world title for a fifth time.

And despite the highly impressive victory that consolidates the 24-year-old’s place in the super flyweight division as one of the best if not one of most brutal punchers in the game, Lau said a Tso-Inoue showdown could actually happen in March 2018.

Impressed by Inoue, who is now 13-0-0 with 11 knockouts, Lau said his protege wanted the fight to happen and as “manager I have to make it happen”.

Watch: Naoya “Monster” Inoue v Ricardo Rodriguez (full fight)

“I watched the fight. I think Inoue is improving,” said Lau in Tokyo on Sunday night. “Inoue has a very powerful left hook. His punches were very accurate. He threw a lot of punches and every punch he threw, they found its target and he landed them effectively. He’s very good at getting an angle to set up his left hook, which is his most dangerous weapon.”

Unbeaten Hong Kong southpaw Tso (21-0-0,13 KOs) has been eyeing a fight with Inoue lately, but Lau reiterated that the 29-year-old local star must defeat Japan’s former WBA champion Kohei Kono in his next fight on October 7 before “even thinking of clashing against Inoue”.

“Rex is showing a desire to fight Inoue. It’s not just Inoue who is improving, Rex is also improving. Let’s see what happens when Rex fights [Kohei] Kono, that’s the most importing thing,” said Lau.

Rex Tso v ‘The Monster’: Hong Kong’s Wonder Kid gets offer to fight Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue

“If Rex defeats Kono easily, why not try Inoue? That will be a very big fight and a very big show and that’s what boxing is all about.”

Lau said Inoue’s manager, Hideyuki Ohashi, wanted a time frame to their possible showdown in Hong Kong and the Japanese’s camp remains keen as ever to stage the fight.

“He wanted to know when we should schedule the fight for 2018. We will probably have it in March. We have a venue open at the moment at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. They really want us to do the show and have made us a very good offer.

“If Rex beats Kono, we will do the fight. If Rex cannot beat Kono, we will have a rematch against Kono. We will invite Inoue to Hong Kong to watch the Kono fight in October.

“Inoue impressed me again,” continued Lau. “He’s now more powerful. Apparently, he didn’t have a problem making weight [115 pounds]. He will stay there [division] and wait for Rex. Inoue wants to fight in Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong’s Rex Tso to fight Kohei Kono in October in Wonder Kid’s most glamorous bout

Inoue, who is considered pound-for-pound one of the best fighters in the world, was way too good for Rodriguez.

Inoue dominated from the outset and sent Rodriguez to the canvas with a left to the jaw before the referee called the bout after one minute, eight seconds in the third round. Rodriguez’s record fell to 16-4-0.

Meanwhile, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza has called for a rematch of Saturday’s middleweight title fight between Japanese boxer Ryota Murata and France’s interim champion Hassan N’Dam.

Two judges saw N’Dam win Saturday’s bout 116-112 and 115-113. The third had Murata up 117-110 – the same score Mendoza had. N’Dam was awarded the bout on points.

“First of all let me apologise to Ryota Murata, Teiken Promotions and all Japanese boxing fans,” Mendoza wrote on Twitter. “I will demand the championship committee to order a direct rematch.”

Murata, a London Olympic gold medallist who was bidding to become the second middleweight champion from Japan and the first in 22 years, sent N’Dam to the canvas several times in Saturday’s bout.

Murata’s camp was livid at the decision, which drew boos and gasps of disbelief at Ariake Coliseum.

“I am disappointed with the controversy,” Mendoza added. “My goal is to have clear decisions and prove transparency to all boxing fans.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press