Hong Kong fighter Rex Tso extends winning streak to 21 after knocking out Japan’s Hirofumi Mukai

Fighter delivers two knockdowns before delivering final blow in front of 8,000 rapturous home fans

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 12:52am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 March, 2017, 5:35pm

Read the latest on Rex Tso: I almost blacked out ... I had to continue: Rex Tso describes his struggle to make it 21 straight wins

Hong Kong phenom Rex Tso Sing-yu was burning the midnight oil as he ran hot again to continue his amazing win streak to 21 victories after knocking out Japanese Hirofumi Mukai on Saturday night.

Unbeaten Tso entered the ring to a raucous welcome by 8,000 fans who waited the whole night to see him in action and he didn’t disappoint as he scored two knockdowns before delivering his payload and ending the fight 32 seconds into the eighth round with a devastating straight left to Mukai’s abdomen.

Mukai slumped over before crashing to the canvas for the third time during the fight. The 31-year-old Osaka-based fighter eventually got up at the count of ten but referee Danrex Tapdasan waved the fight over as Tso received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The bout finished at approximately 12.37am but Tso wanted to end the main event of Clash of Champions 2 in a hurry.

“Give me 10 seconds, so I can catch my breath. Thank you for calling out my name during the fight. I felt like collapsing during the fight,” said Tso moments after his latest victory.

“Thank you Mukai for a very good fight. Please give Mukai a round of applause because he deserved it,” added Tso.

The Wonder Kid revealed he had temporarily lost his hearing during the second round after a right hook from Mukai but felt better as the fight wore on.

“I couldn’t hear anything in the second round after I got caught by Mukai’s left hook. I couldn’t hear what my coach was saying. Luckily I survived this,” said the 29-year-old, who won three belts on the night. He retained his WBO international super flyweight title and WBC Asian Boxing Council super flyweight title, while winning Mukai’s WBO Asia-Pacific title.

Entering the ring to a Canto pop tune and wearing a black hoodie, thousands of phone cameras recorded his every move. Mukai had supporters of his own with about 25 fans flying in from Osaka to cheer him on, but they were heavily outnumbered.

Mukai (now 13-5-3) showed surprising quickness in the first round but suffered an accidental headbutt. Tso scored a knockdown midway in the second round, a powerful left hook that caught the Japanese, who fell on his backside for a standing eight count.

Tso was looking for a quick knockout and had Mukai against the ropes to the cheers of the crowd but somehow the Japanese managed to slip away while landing some good blows of his own.

In the fifth round, Tso remained on the offensive, closing the round with some solid punching. Mukai hit the canvas for the second time in the sixth round after receiving a body shot from Tso, who was sensing victory.

“It was a very hard fight,” said Tso (now 20-0-0, 13 KOs) afterwards. “I have a few injuries to my face, but I’m okay.”

Meanwhile, Mark Anthony Geraldo won a bruising, 10-rounder against fellow Filipino Kenny Demecillo for the vacant WBO Oriental bantamweight title in the evening’s co-event bout.

Geraldo, who sparred with Tso for five weeks in Hong Kong, was a tiring boxer in the end but did enough to sway the judges, who scored it 98-92, 96-94, 95-92 in his favour for an unanimous decision.

Earlier, rising Hong Kong star Raymond Poon Kai-ching suffered a surprising defeat in his third professional bout in a light flyweight contest over six rounds that was of considerable high standard.

The 20-year-old Poon is considered one of the best prospects, who has trained with the Wonder Kid in the Philippines, but he met his match against 23-year-old Tat Fai-yiu, who made a brilliant debut as a professional.

In one of the night’s most evently-contested bouts, Tat used his longer reach to good effect, scoring good jabs to Poon’s head and judges had a hard time separating the two but in the end gave it to “Tiger Boy” Tat on a split decision.

Secret weapon: Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo helping Rex Tso map out battle plans to defeat Hirofumi Mukai

Poon was undeterred by his first defeat and said: “I rather enjoyed the fight and my opponent gave me a really good fight. My stamina was actually better than before and although I didn’t win this time, I thought I lasted the six rounds quite well. I will continue to persevere,” said Poon.

There was drama earlier in the proceedings after soon-to-be-based in Singapore Filipino Rey Megrino knocked out Japan’s Yuki “Strong” Kobayashi in another super bantamweight contest.

Megrino blasted straight out of the blocks from the opening bell. And the Filipino almost immediately landed a vicious right hook just 23 seconds into the first round that caught Kobayashi flush in the face.

The Japanese stumbled before falling flat on his back before worried ring officials attended the unconscious boxer. Kobayashi eventually stood on his feet to the cheers of the crowd as Megrino celebrated his 24th professional bout and 21st knockout victory to improve his record to an astonishing 24-20-4.

‘Aggressive’ Rex Tso shows harder side at weigh-in

Jeremy Lee Tsun-yin also made a surprisingly good professional debut, defeating the popular Tom Taw in a super middleweight contest over four rounds. Taw fell to the canvas in the second round for a standing eight count but a video replay clearly showed him losing his footing and slipping. Two judges scored it 38-37 in Lee’s favour with one judge having it 38-37 in Taw’s favour.

Earlier, Police Club/Operation Breakthrough star Suarez Gurung coasted to a unanimous decision against Tong Wai-hung in a super bantamweight contest over four rounds.

Gurung, the Nepali-born local boxer who made a name for himself after getting in trouble with the law as a youth and turning his life around through the local police Operation Breakthrough programme, dominated the fight, using his ring experience to easily outbox Tong, who was making his professional debut. Gurung improved his record to 3-1.