Macau back on the cards as Rex Tso and Zou Shiming weigh up potential lucrative bouts

Hong Kong’s Wonder Kid could be returning to Cotai Arena next year thanks to China’s two-time gold medallist, who lifted the world title in Las Vegas over the weekend

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 8:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 10:38pm

Hong Kong’s unbeaten star Rex Tso Sing-yu had good reason to celebrate Zou Shiming’s WBO flyweight title in Las Vegas over the weekend – it’s just opened another door for him.

China’s two-time Olympic gold medallist defeated Thai fighter Prasitsak Phaprom on points on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas welterweight showdown for only the mainland’s second professional title.

But more importantly it has opened the way for Zou and Tso to return to fight in Macau, where they could be sitting on more lucrative fights at the Macao Venetian Cotai Arena next year.

Watch: Zou Shiming v Prasitsak Phaprom fight hightlights

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said recently that Zou (9-1, 2 KOs) would return to the former Portuguese enclave in 2017 – where he began his pro career in 2013 – if he managed to lift the world title and super flyweight Tso would “probably” be on the undercard again.

My greatest moment – China’s Zou Shiming lifts world title in Las Vegas after classy win over Prasitsak

The news has lifted the Tso camp, who recently celebrated the 29-year-old’s ascendency to the No 2 contender position in the WBO junior bantamweight division behind champion Naoya “The Monster” Inoue. Tso (20-0-0, 12 KOs) last fought in Macau in July 2015 before casino revenue took a massive hit in the wake of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive.

“We will talk to Top Rank at the end of the month and confirm everything after Top Rank finishes organising the Vasyl Lomenchenko-Nicholas Walters featherweight world title fight in Las Vegas on November 26,” said Tso’s manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen.

“We would be pleased to return to Macau but we don’t know at this stage whether this will happen,” he said.

Lau explained Tso’s next fight has been booked at Wanchai’s Convention and Exhibition Centre in March, but that “will change if we are invited back to Macau”.

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

“To be honest, it is very stressful organising fights in Hong Kong and we would prefer to fight in Macau because Top Rank will do all the organising. We only have to prepare Rex for the fight,” said Lau.

“Top Rank always wanted to stage fights in Macau. We don’t want to compete against them by staging our fight in Hong Kong. We just hope the date doesn’t clash with our event. If it does, we will take Macau,” he said.

Lau was delighted Tso took another step towards the world title – at least by world ranking – after the southpaw rose to his highest world ranking.

“Mexico’s Juan Hernandez is the No 1 contender in the division so he will probably have a shot at the world title against the current holder of the title in the near future. That would be a mandatory fight for the champion. If that happens, Rex will be promoted to number one. Being ranked number two is definitely better than being ranked number three or four,” he said.

Japanese fighter Ryuto Maekawa lands in hospital with burst eardrum after pounding by Hong Kong ace Rex Tso

Lau also revealed that he will be travelling with Tso to Tokyo on December 30 to watch Inoue fight fellow Japanese Kohei Kono for the WBO title. The winner is likely to fight Hernandez.

“Kono was all lined up to fight Rex but he lost to [Panama’s] Luis Conception in August in Tokyo. We hear that the Kono-Inoue fight has already been confirmed by their managers. If Kono loses, he’s going to retire,” said Lau.