Hong Kong superstar Rex Tso will knock out Kono, confident trainer Jay Lau predicts

Millions expected to tune in on live stream to watch Saturday night’s sold-out ‘Clash of Champions 3’ as Hong Kong’s unbeaten southpaw faces former two-time WBA world champion Kono

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 October, 2017, 4:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 11:18am

The body shot. It has served Rex Tso Sing-yu well in the past and it could be the punch the “Wonder Kid” fires off to wear out Japanese veteran Kohei Kono – his toughest opponent to date – in Saturday’s sold-out “Clash of Champions 3”.

Three of Tso’s last four opponents were felled by the relentless pounding from his signature right hook delivered to the solar plexus, proving too much for many of his opponents over the years.

Australia’s Brad Hore, South Korean Young Gil-bae and his last opponent, Hirofumi Mukai, all found out the hard way that the Tso body shot can deliver devastating consequences.

On Saturday night at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, millions are expected to tune in on live stream platforms across China, Japan and Thailand to watch the 30-year-old unbeaten Hong Kong superstar notch what would be his greatest victory in the 12-round contest for Tso’s WBO international super flyweight title.

Watch: Rex Tso and Kohei Kono weigh in for Clash of Champions 3 and talk to the Post about the fight

And Tso’s trainer and promoter, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, believes “super fit” Rex will pound away at 36-year-old Kono and score a knockout in the Wonder Kid’s 22nd fight as a professional.

“The right hook to the body has always been Rex’s signature punch,” said Lau. “I’ve been training Rex for almost 10 years now. That was the first punch that I’ve been telling him ‘this is your most powerful punch and that he should always use it, especially because you’re a southpaw’. The body shot has always worked for him.

Lau said Tso (21-0-0, 13 KOs) has perfected his right hook, more so after training intensively – and injury-free – for his date against Kono (33-10-01, 14 KOs), the former two-time WBA world champion from Tokyo.

“Rex’s body shots have been very good and we’ve been training this punch again and again. It will be more powerful this time and I’m sure he will use it against Kono.

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“Kono has very good stamina as a boxer and you have to hurt him with the body shot. There will be a lot of body shots to make sure Kono can’t breathe and we’re going to knock him out.

Tso’s long-time trainer said Tso is more than capable of knocking out the Japanese veteran who lost his last two world title fights against Panama City’s Luis Concepcion and compatriot “Monster” Naoya Inoue. Kono won a prep bout in July against an unknown Thai boxer Yuranan Dokrathok to get the go-ahead to fight Tso.

“Rex can knock Kono out. Rex is super fit and he’s very confident and we’ve been training really hard during the past three months. I’ve seen him spar and he just gets better and better.

Rex Tso must beat Kohei Kono – and beat him convincingly – if he wants world title shot, says promoter

“When the audience cheers for him, Rex usually gets excited and he tends to walk into his opponent’s punches. But this time, he’s going to be more careful,” added Lau.

Tso was a little less confident of a knockout victory but says he will climb into the ring against Kono in his “best-ever shape”.

“Knocking out an opponent isn’t easy especially against an experienced boxer of Kono’s calibre,” said Tso, who tipped the scales at exactly 115 pounds during Friday’s official weigh-in at Olympian City. Kono weighed in at an identical 115 pounds.

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“I could wear down Kono towards the end of the fight but it depends on what preparations he has made and whether he has studied my moves. A knockout might happen or it might not. I’m confident that I will last the distance and that I will still be strong even in the 12th round,” said Tso.

Lau said he expects more than two million fans will tune into the bout through live streaming with Alisports in China and MVTV in Thailand.

“In our last fight [against Mukai in March] we had about two million accumulated views and more than a million live. This time we will get a minimum of two million watching. We have promoted the bout in Japan, Thailand and China,” said Lau.

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There will be two other title fights on the eight-bout card. Tso’s sparring partner for the past two months, Japan’s Takuya Watanabe (32-7-1, 17 KOs), will be out to snatch the vacant Oriental WBO super featherweight bout against China’s Leshan Li (13-2-1, 8 KOs).

Also on the card will be Japan’s unbeaten super bantamweight star, Ayumi Goto (7-0, 5 KOs), who takes on India’s unheralded, Kirti Vashists (3-0, 2 KOs). The action begins at 5pm with a light flyweight bout between Hong Kong’s Sandy Lam and Indonesia’s Nadya Nakhoir.