Filipinos Marlon Tapales and Mark Anthony Geraldo get Rex Tso in shape for ‘Clash of Champions 2’

World champion Marlon Tapales and fellow Pinoy Mark Anthony Geraldo provide world-class sparring for ‘Wonder Kid’ ahead of his March 11 bout at sold out Convention and Exhibition Centre

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 6:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2017, 6:40pm

World bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales says Hong Kong’s Rex Tso Sing-yu is giving him solid workouts ahead of his first title defence in April. And the Filipino is reciprocating by getting the “Wonder Kid” also in shape as he prepares for his clash next month.

Tso is getting the best of both worlds, staying in Hong Kong to complete his conditioning ahead of “Clash of Champions 2”, with two top-ranked Filipinos helping him put the finishing touches to his training . Another Filipino, Mark Anthony Geraldo, is also playing a major role in helping Tso reach tip-top shape for the Hong Kong star’s 21st professional bout.

Normally, Tso’s training camp would start and begin in Cebu, the Philippines, where they are an abundance of good sparring partners, but this time, it was decided that two good sparring partners should come to Hong Kong, so that Tso can stay happily at home and have top-notched medical backup at his disposal.

“We are giving each other good sparring sessions. We both need to get into shape for our fights and there’s no better way to do this. Rex is a southpaw just like me, and we enjoy our sparring sessions together. It’s good for Rex and good for me,” said 24-year-old Tapales (29-2-0, 12 KOs), who will fight Japanese Shohei Omori in his first world title defence in Osaka on April 23.

“I can see Rex has really come on and looks well prepared for his fight. If he continues to train hard, he’ll do very well.

“It’s also a big fight for me against Omori. I have beaten Omori before [second round TKO in December 2015] but I still see this being a tough fight because Omori might have improved the last time I met him,” said Tapales, who lifted the WBO bantamweight title against Thai fighter Panya Uthok last July.

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The undefeated Tso (20-0-0, 12 KOs) will be hoping to extend his winning streak to 21 fights when he faces Japanese Hirofumi Mukai on March 11 in front of an expected sold-out crowd of 8,000 at Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“Marlon and Mark have been a big help to me. Their sparring is invaluable to me and it’s good that they were able to come to Hong Kong instead of me going to Cebu. In the Philippines, conditions are tough and the climate is very hot. We decided to do the sparring in Hong Kong, although I did spar for two weeks in Cebu in early January. I get better medical support in Hong Kong such physiotherapy, so it’s working out great for me,” said 29-year-old Tso.

The sparring at DEF boxing gym is also helping Geraldo, who is on the undercard of “Clash of Champions 2” as he faces fellow Filipino Kenny Demecillo (12-3-2, 7 KOs) for the WBO Oriental bantamweight title.

Geraldo (33-7-3, 15 KOs) is another southpaw, who is adding another dimension to Tso’s sparring sessions. He also has world title ambitions of his own.

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“To come to Hong Kong is really an eye-opener for me. This is the first time I’ve come here. Sparring with Tapales and Rex has been a real joy. Hopefully, I will get my shot at a world title one day,” said the 25-year-old, who hails from Valencia City.

Tso’s training and manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, said Tso, Geraldo and Tapales have been motivating each other as they hit top physical condition.

“They make a good team. Mark and Marlon are bigger and more experienced than Rex,” said Lau. “Marlon is a world-class fighter who will be defending his world title in April and Rex is learning a lot from him. The atmosphere in the gym is really great now. We needed two sparring partners, not just one, so that’s why we have Mark here as well. I really love Mark’s style and he’s a really exciting boxer,” he said.

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“There are many martial arts gyms around Central but these world-class boxers want to come to DEF to do their training. It proves that we have what it takes for these guys to come all the way here and spend time to train.”

Watch: Marlon Tapales work out at DEF gym