Big step: Hong Kong hero Rex Tso battles overtime to earn his 20th, and toughest, pro victory against bruising Ryuto Maekawa

5,000 crowd cheers on ‘Wonder Kid’ as he remains undefeated after beating his tough Japanese rival and moving closer to a possible world title shot

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2016, 11:48pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 October, 2016, 3:23am

Rex Tso Sing-yu took another “big step” towards a possible world title fight next year, but the “Wonder Kid” needed to work overtime as he earned his 20th straight victory in Saturday night’s “Battle of Victors”.

Battling against tough Japanese, Ryuto Maekawa, Hong Kong’s first professional boxer had to dig deep into his arsenal of weapons before defeating the 20-year-old by unanimous decision in a 10-round slugfest that entertained a capacity crowd of 5,000.

The win means Tso retains his WBC Asia super flyweight title (115 pounds), while also snatching the WBO international junior bantamweight title.

WATCH: Highlights of Rex Tso's 20th consecutive victory

At the end of the super flyweight contest that kept the crowd on their toes, Tso kept his unbeaten streak going, but his latest win was a lot closer than the official’s scorecard (98-92, 99-91) suggested.

“Give my opponent some applause because he fought very hard,” said Tso before the sell-out crowd at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“He was very tough and it was 10 hard rounds. But I have taken another big step. It’s one more big step for me,” said an emotional Tso (now 20-0-0, 12 KOs).

Maekawa had previously been undefeated after 12 fights and it was easy to know why as he lured Tso into battling toe-to-toe with him – which sometimes backfired.

The Tokyo-based fighter from the famed Watanabe gym never looked like hitting the canvas despite Tso’s best efforts and even sneaked in a few good shots that rocked Tso in the third and fourth rounds.

Tso worked on Maekawa’s head, scoring combinations – he scored four continuous left jabs in the eighth round that all found its target – but the Hong Kong star just couldn’t finish the Japanese off.

Hong Kong’s other professional fighter, Raymond Poon Kai-ching, also received a thunderous reception after winning his second pro bout.

Poon, who has been inspired by Tso and is committing himself to full-time training, scored an impressive third-round TKO of Thailand’s Pakpoom Hammarach (14-11, 8 KOs).

That’s the first knockout earned for 21-year-old Poon (2-0, 1 KO), whose one month’s training with Tso in Cebu last month seemed to have done him a world of good.

Poon floored his opponent at the start of the second round with a left-right combination and an uppercut ended the contest 48 seconds into the third round with Pakpoom lying flat on his back.

“I never thought I would knock out my opponent. My opponent was strong and I didn’t think I would do it. But my training in Cebu really helped me a lot and I felt strong in the first round. I trained intensively in Cebu. I had more power definitely,” he said.

“My parents were really worried about me, but I guess they won’t have to now.”

Three other Hong Kong fighters were also victorious, keeping the crowd happy.

Sures Gurung, representing the Hong Kong police boxing club and “Operation Breakthrough”, had the easiest victory of the night.

The Nepali-born Gurung did not give Australian professional debutant, James Gibbs, much of a chance as he scored a first-round TKO.

Gurung gave Gibbs a bloody nose in the opening seconds of the featherweight bout with the referee stepping in and calling a halt to the fight after just 69 seconds. Gibbs wasn’t able to defend himself from receiving more punishment.

Hong Kong-based Rey Megrino showed just how far he has come since joining DEF gym a year ago as he knocked out Indonesia’s Jason Butar Butar with a thunderous right hook in the fifth round of his featherweight bout.

Hong Kong-based Briton Tom Taw won his middleweight fight by unanimous decision against Indonesia’s Marco Tuhumury (10-14-2, 3 KO) in a fight that produced few thrills.