Since the start of the year we've seen a lot of talk from the Watanabe team about a WBA Super Flyweight world title bout between their world champion Kohei Kono (31-8-1, 13) [河野 公平] and Hong Kong star Rex Tso (18-0, 11) [曹星如].
Originally it seemed that both teams were looking at getting that bout made for late Spring, with Kono stating he was happy to travel to Hong Kong, Macau or Shanghai for the bout. It seems however that those plans have been put on ice with Tso's team now set to keep their man busy through the year before a potential bout with Tso possibly in December.
Between now and then Tso's team hope to fit in two other bouts with the first being scheduled for May before a potential September bout.
The May bout, according to one notable local source, will see Tso take on former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (26-5-1, 21) [배영길], who came up short last year when he challenged WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม]. From what we under-stand the under-card for this show is unlikely to feature anyone else of note.
For Bae the fight will be his first since facing Wanheng last November, when he was stopped in 9 rounds by the champion whilst Tso will be fighting for the first time since last August, when he stopped Brad Hore in 7 rounds.
If Tso gets through that one then his team have indicated that they would be chasing a September bout with Thailand's Norasing Kokietgym (18-0-1, 13) [นรสิงห์ ก่อเกียรติยิม], also in Hong Kong. At the moment the Thai's have reported that Norasing is hunting a shot of his own against WBA "interim" champion Luis Concepcion (34-4, 24), though other sources have reported that Concepcion will be ordered to face Kono in March.
If, and it's a big If, Tso wins both of those bouts the intention will be to get Kono over for a December bout against Tso. If, of course, Kono is still the champion in December. It's hoped that the two additional bouts will help prepare Tso for Kono, though it may also be a case of hoping that Kono begins to show signs of frailty as well.
It may be fair to say that Japanese fighter may begin to look else where after seemingly doing what he could to get Tso in the first of this year. Whilst a bout with Tso is still a big money bout it's clear that the division does have other key players looking for big fights and Kono may be persuaded to face someone like Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥], who has stated that he'd like to unify titles this year, or his younger brother Takuma Inoue [井上 拓真], who is likely to to fight for a world title this year.
Our good Thai friend Pal got in touch with us earlier today and gave us a number of stories from Thailand. Of those one of the most interesting was that unbeaten hopeful Norasing Kokietgym (18-0-1, 13) [นรสิงห์ ก่อเกียรติยิม] was recently made the mandatory title challenger to WBA "interim" Super Flyweight champion Luis Concepcion (34-4, 24).
At the moment there is no date or venue set for the bout but it sounds like the Kokietgym will actively pursue the bout for later this year.
For those who haven't followed Norasing's career he's a talented 29 year old who has been a professional for almost 5 years. During that time he has won a number of regional titles, including the PABA and the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver title. Whilst he has looked talented he does lack a big win, with his best victories coming against Tommy Seran and Heri Amol.
As for Concepcion the all-action Panamanian warrior is a former WBA interim Flyweight champion, having beaten Denkaosan Kaovichit for that title, and is the current WBA interim Super Flyweight champion. The 30 year old,who has been a professional for almost 10 years, is one of the sports most exciting fighters and recently finished a triology with Hernan Marquez, in what was Concepcion's first defense of his title, following an upset victory over David Sanchez last September.
For those who haven't seen Norasing we have included a video of him below.
Earlier today in Thailand there was a press conference ahead of this Friday's bouts which will feature several notable names.
The most well known of those fighters is the unbeaten Light Flyweight Paipharob Kokietgym (27-0, 20) who will be defending his WBO Oriental Light Flyweight title against a Filipino challenger Lionel Legada (12-7-1, 5).
For Paipharob the key is to win and look good winning here as he hopes to put pressure on the Light Flyweight world champions and get himself a world title fight later in the year.
Another of the unbeaten prospects on this card is Norasing Kokietgym (13-0-1, 10), who we believe will be fighting another Filipino fighter.
Notably there is also a Korean fighter set to be featured on this card, who we believe is the blonde haired Myung-goo Yuh (24-4-1, 19). Though we are very unsure on the details regarding this fight.
(Image courtesy of thairec.com)
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