Keep the dream alive: Focus on your next opponent, Hong Kong’s ‘Wonder Kid’ Rex Tso told

Coach Jay Lau says unbeaten star needs to put the disappointment of losing his chance for a world title shot behind him and prepare for his fight against Japanese youngster Ryuto Maekawa next month

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 7:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 September, 2016, 1:04am

After watching his hopes of a WBA world title shot disappear, Hong Kong’s Rex Tso Sing-yu returns to training camp this week trying to put the blow behind him as he prepares for his next opponent in October.

The unbeaten “Wonder Kid” had been hoping to face Japanese veteran Kohei Kono for his WBA title in December in Tokyo, but the 29-year-old Hong Kong star’s plan was dealt a harsh blow after the 35-year-old Kono was beaten by Panama’s Luis Concepcion in a unanimous 12-round decision in Tokyo on Wednesday night.

Upset that his only real pathway towards a prestigious world title belt vanished before his eyes at the Ota-City General Gymnasium after a thrilling slugfest that saw the 30-year-old Concepcion unify the regular and interim world titles, Tso must now focus on his next fight on October 8 against unbeaten Japanese, Ryuto Maekawa.

Back to the drawing board: Rex Tso’s WBA title plans hit the skids as Kohei Kono is beaten in Tokyo

“Rex is now very upset that Kono lost. He was so disappointed, but what can we do?,” said Jay Lau Chi-yuen, Tso’s trainer and manager.

“Right now, we need to get Rex in the right frame of mind because he must get back into heavy training in Cebu [Philippines] this week and he must win his next fight if he is going to have any chance of a world title fight. He must focus on his fight and that’s the most important thing,” he said.

Lau was also disappointed that Kono was not able to extend his WBA super flyweight reign for another few months after he was surprised by the 30-year-old Panamanian in his first loss in more than three years.

Watch: Luis Concepcion defeats Kohei Kono in Tokyo


Lau had spent months negotiating a contract with Kono’s camp and building a solid relationship with Kono’s venerable manager, Hitoshi Watanabe, but it all came down to nothing.

Tough fight: Hong Kong’s ‘Wonder Kid’ Rex Tso to face stiff competition for world title bout

“There’s still a chance that we will fight Kono in future. If that happens and Rex manages to beat Kono, that will boost Rex’s confidence for a possible showdown with Concepcion. But it looks like we will first fight for the IBO [International Boxing Organisation] title against South Africa’s Gideon Buthelezi [17-5-0, 4 KOs) in March in Hong Kong,” said Lau.

Lau had a good look on Thursday at Tso’s next opponent as the 20-year-old Maekawa began his final preparations for next month’s “Battle of Victors” at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Maekawa (11-0-1, 7 KOs) recently returned from one month’s training in the mountains of Nagano and was confident of winning the bout between two undefeated super flyweights for the vacant WBO international junior bantamweight (115 pounds) title.

“Rex is the best-ever opponent I am going to face, but I am confident of victory,” said Maekawa in his gym in Tokyo on Thursday. “I trained harder than before and it’s going to be a great fight. I know Rex is a great champion, but I am going to go to Hong Kong, beat up Rex and take his belt,” said Maekawa, who started boxing professionally at the age of just 15.

Maekawa’s coach, Jorge Nogi, said Maekawa had built his stamina in the mountains and will spar for the next five weeks before he faces the Hong Kong star.

“Rex Tso is a very stylish boxer and has great potential. We are very happy to have this opportunity to fight in Hong Kong. It’s going to be a very close fight,” said Nogi.