Hong Kong superstar Rex Tso beat Kohei Kono fair and square, says world-class referee

Well-respected Filipino ring official Danrex Tapdasan says there’s no doubt who won last weekend’s Clash of Champions 3 sold-out super bout

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 7:29pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 11:29pm

A world-class referee and judge has explained the rules that applied to an unusual situation during last weekend’s Clash of Champions 3 extravaganza, saying it was “absolutely correct” in awarding Hong Kong superstar Rex Tso Sing-yu victory against Japanese rival Kohei Kono.

The 30-year-old unbeaten “Wonder Kid” won the scheduled 12-round super flyweight contest on a technical decision despite suffering a horrific injury sustained in an accidental headbutt in the second round.

With his left eye almost completely shut, the referee stepped in to stop the fight at the start of the seventh round after consulting the ringside doctor.

Tso continued his winning streak to 22 bouts after leading on the scorecards up to the time the decision to stop the fight was made, baffling some fans who thought the unbeaten Hong Kong boxer should have lost.

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Filipino Danrex Tapdasan told the Post on Monday there was no doubt who won the contest with the three judges scoring it an identical 68-66, meaning Tso won four rounds to Kono’s two.

Watch: Slow-motion replay of the accidental headbutt and interview with Danrex Tapdasan

As boxing rules apply, both fighters scored 10 points in the seventh round even though there was no action in the round. Tapdasan, who is a lawyer by profession and was one of the three judges for the Tso fight, said the identical scores gave the officiating more credence because all three judges saw the fight the same way.

“This is the absolutely correct decision,” said 39-year-old Tapdasan, who has refereed 450 fights, including 14 world titles and judged 370 fights, 23 of them world championship bouts.

“If you look at the scoresheet you can see out of the seven rounds that were scored, the judges agreed 100 per cent in each and every round. It was clear rounds one, two and three were for Tso. Round four all judges agreed Kono won that round. Round five we gave it to Tso. In round six, all of us scored in favour of Kono as he won the round convincingly.

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“In round seven there was no action and under the rules, when the bell rings, that means the fight is on and both fighters got 10 points each even though the fight was stopped.”

Tapdasan said there was a purpose that the three judges sit on three different portions of the ring.

“This is to make it possible that if one of the judges is situated where he cannot see both fighters clearly, the other two judges will have a better angle to see the action. So, if a round is close, it is possible that the three judges will not be unanimous in giving the round to the same fighter.”

“The winner of the rounds were very clear,” he continued. “I could see Tso clearly won one, two, three and five. It means Tso was leading after seven rounds. If the fight was stopped in the first four rounds because of an accidental foul, then the fight could have been a no decision or a technical draw. But the fight was stopped in the seventh. The doctor cannot stop the fight. Only the referee can stop the fight.”

Tso suffered a heavily bruised forehead that swelled on and over his left eye that deteriorated during the fight. However, Tso said on Sunday that he would require only two weeks rest and was happy to report that he had not suffered any concussion or broken bones.

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The Wonder Kid’s latest victory raised his record to 22-0-0, 13 KOs, while 36-year-old Kono (33-11-1, 14 KOs) slipped to his third loss in his last four fights with his career hanging in the balance.