Tokyo or bust: Rex Tso will fight for WBA title in December against Kohei Kono, say connections

But there are a lot of ‘ifs and buts’ – the Japanese veteran needs to defend his WBA belt on August 31 for Hong Kong’s ‘Wonder Kid’ to have the chance to get a shot at glory

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 August, 2016, 4:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 August, 2016, 1:01pm

The camp of Rex Tso Sing-yu has thrown caution to the wind by announcing the “Wonder Kid” will fight for the world title in December away from home against WBA super flyweight champion Kohei Kono – if everything falls in his favour.

Tso has been itching to fight the 35-year-old Japanese veteran for some time and could finally earn his date with destiny in a situation that has many “ifs and buts” but could actually happen on New Year’s Eve in Tokyo.

WATCH: Rex Tso scores his 19th straight victory

Tso’s trainer and manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, revealed they had the world title bout “all sewn up” for September this year but the WBA (World Boxing Association) spoiled their plans when they stepped in and forced Kono to fight a mandatory bout against Panama’s Luis Concepcion in Tokyo on August 31.

The Tso team, comprising Tso, Lau and conditioning coach Jake Verano, will travel to Tokyo to “cheer” on Kono, hoping the Japanese champion will retain his world title so they can quickly iron out a contract to fight him in December.

“As soon as Kono wins his fight against Concepcion, we are going to present our contract to Kono in front of the Japanese media and make him sign it,” said Lau.

“We have been desperate to fight Kono and we want his title so badly. We have been talking about fighting Kono for one and-a-half years,” he said.

“This is a great chance for us [a world title] even though the offer is not great for us.”

Lau revealed the WBA had scuppered plans to bring the world title fight to Hong Kong in September because the WBA wanted to “consolidate their world champions” as it was causing confusion among fight fans.

“The WBA has a regular, super and interim world champion and that provided consternation among the boxing community. So the WBA wanted only one world champion so they forced Kono [regular world champion] to fight Concepcion [interim world title] for one title.”

“We were really p***** off when our plans to stage the world title fight in September were derailed because everything had been agreed. Kono had agreed to a US$250,000 purse and Top Rank [promoters] had also given it the green light only for the WBA to step in and say no.”

Lau admitted the recently-turned 29-year-old Tso would be taking a risk fighting for the world title in Tokyo instead of staying at home as he will have to contend with a partisan crowd plus the likelihood of biased officiating.

“The only way he’s going to win is if wins by KO,” said Lau of the possible world title fight.

Lau said if Kono loses on August 31 against Concepcion, it will again throw their plans in disarray.

“That means we would have to negotiate all over again and Concepcion is likely to fight against South American opponents,” said Lau.

Tso could still fight for the world title next year in March for the IBO (International Boxing Organisation) world championship (the newest of the boxing governing bodies) although this has not been confirmed.

Tso, meanwhile, has his 20th professional fight lined up and it falls during the FIA Formula E Hong Kong ePrix weekend on Saturday, October 8.

The unbeaten Hong Kong star will be looking for his 20th straight win (19-0-0, 12 KOs) when he faces another undefeated fighter from Japan, Ryuto Maekawa (11-0-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant WBO international junior bantamweight (115 pounds) title in the “Battle of Victors”.

Tso will return to Wan Chai’s Convention and Exhibition Centre and organisers say it will be his biggest Hong Kong bout to date with seating increased to 5,000 spectators.

The “Wonder Kid” will be fighting for the first time since stopping South Korean Young Gil-bae in May in front of about 3,000 fans.

Seven other fights will be arranged with fighters from nine countries taking part for the October showpiece.

It will be another opportunity for up-and-coming light flyweight Raymond Poon Kai-ching to showcase his skills after the talented 20-year-old made a memorable professional debut against Macau’s Hin Leong in “Clash of Champions” in May.