Last week numerous websites reported that Hong Kong star Rex Tso (22-0, 13) [曹星如] had retired from boxing citing eye injuries suffering in his win over 2-time world champion Kohei Kono [河野 公平]. Those reports however seem to be false, with the fighter himself recently speaking to the South China Morning Post and dispelling the rumour himself.
The rumour was that Tso had retired rather than compete on Superfly 3 against Aston Palicte for the WBO title, with Donnie Nietes getting the shot instead.
Tso told the SCMP:
“Yes, I have split with Jay,”
“I have left DEF [Promotions] but I’m not retiring. I am just taking a nine-month [11 months] break from my last fight because I am recovering from my injury.
“I need time to train up. I needed a long rest in order to continue my boxing career.”
The split from DEF's head honcho Jay Lau had apparently been no surprise, with the two hardly talking since Tso's bout with Kono last October. The split has seen Tsu begin being managed by his wife Candy Wu, who is likely responsible for Tsu's recent increase out of the ring activities, which has seen him take part in AID's awareness campaign in Hong Kong and become the face of Nike in Hong Kong.
The falling out between Lau and Tso is said to have been over business decisions. Given what Tso has been up to since splitting with Lau it looks like Tso was missing out on possible sponsorship opportunities, which his wife is now guiding him towards them.
It seems plausible that Tso's future, when he recovers from his injury, could see him leaving Hong Kong for fights and whilst he missed out on Superfly 3 there is a genuine chance that he could be in the ring for Superfly 4, much like how Kazuto Ioka ended his break from the ring to return this past weekend.
The original article from the SCMP can be read here.
(Image courtesy of the BBC)
Last October we saw Hong Kong star Rex Tso (22-0, 13) [曹星如] score the biggest win of his career, a technical decision win over former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono [河野 公平]. The win seemed almost certain to put Tso in line for a world title fight, though unfortunately he suffered an injury in the bout which has seen him out of the ring for almost a year.
That injury has taken significant time to rehabilitate and Tso, now 30, is still undergoing regular checks to his left eye which hasn't returned to normal yet.
At recent business event, about insurance, Tso stated it was unclear on when he would be fit to return but that he is back in training but as of July there was no fixed time table for when he would be back in the ring. He did however state that he was still contracted to his promoter and it does seem clear that he is wanting to continue his career when deemed fit to do so.
Although not able to fight Tso isn't sitting on his laurels, he has worked with an American insurance company, signing up and explaining that as a sports person his career could be short and would like insurance to protect him going forward, he has remained involved around boxing whilst supporting Raymond Poon KaiChing (6-1, 3), who scored the biggest win of his career in July and more recently been involved in some out of the ring activity.
The latest reports on Tso state that he is now part of a Aids awareness campaign in Hong Kong. He has been signed up for adverts regarding the Hong Kong AIDS Foundation and will be clearly hoping that he can remaining in the public eye whilst he recovers, and that he can help raise awareness of AIDS in Hong Kong, which was on the rise last year and is close to becoming a major problem with younger man in the 20-29 age group.
Whilst we all look forward to seeing Tso return from his injury it is great to see that he is using his fame to try and promote something like AIDS awareness whilst he's unable to fight.
Earlier today fight fan sin Hong Kong saw an absolute barn burner, as former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (33-11-1, 14) [河野 公平] faced off with local star star Rex Tso (22-0, 13) [曹星如].
The bout was, on paper at least, something to get really excited about. It was two men who's styles were expected to gel, and we had anticipated a special type of bout. One of those that live on long in the annals of boxing folklore, without really getting the wider recognition they deserve. What we got was the all action bout we expected, but one that ended without the outcome we had really hoped for.
In the first round Kono looked to bring the pressure, but Tso's youth and speed proved to be the difference. In round 2 a nasty head clash left Tso with a notable swelling over his head. That swelling would grow as the fight went on, but wasn't an immediate issue. In fact it seemed to spurr on Kono who upped his pace and looked to really take the fight to Tso.
From rounds 3 to 6 pace of Kono kept increasing, whilst Tso seemed to begin tiring, and slowing down. Tso's slow down also came with the swelling increasing and his left eye swelling shut.
Kono had his best round in round 7, and it seemed like Tso really was feeling the pace. In fact Tso's willingness to fight Kono's fight had taken a lot out of him.
At the end of round 7 the doctor decided enough was enough, and stopped the bout due to the swelling, taking us to the scorecards. They all favoured Tso, with scores of 68-66, surprisingly having round 7 as a 10-10 round despite it looking like a clear Kono round.
With the win Tso moves closer to a world title fight, but gven the end of the fight, and the action we had had, there are calls from fans for a rematch, and being honest we're joining those calls, as fans our selves. It a damned fun fight, and we want another!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans around the globe will get a potential FOTY contender, as Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14) [河野 公平] battles with Hong Kong star Rex Tso (21-0, 13) [曹星如]. Gven the styles and mentality of the two men we're expecting something special, even more so given the lengthy time that the two fighters have been linked together, and they time they have been able to prepare for this bout.
Today the two fighters took part in the weigh in for their bout, and both fighters managed to come in at 115lbs for the bout, bang on the limit.
For Kono the weight was his normal weight, with the former 2-time world champion having been 115lbs in 3 of his last 4, and 5 of his last 7, including bouts with Denkaosan Kaovichit, Luis Concepcion and Naoya Inoue.
As for Tso the weight was exactly the same as he's been in his last two, including his memorable war with Rytuo Maekawa. Although Tso has differentiated from the limit in the past, he has really only varied by a couple of lbs either way, and seemed very natural on the scales.
Notably the weigh in had a sizable crowd, and it seems clear that there is a lot of fan interest in Hong Kong for this bout.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in September we saw the US debut of WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12) [井上 尚弥], who toyed with Antonio Nieves (17-2-2, 9). Following that bout it was hoped by his team, at the Ohahsi gym, that they would be able to secure a unification bout for late December against IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18).
Sadly Ancajas has different plans and will instead defend his title in Belfast against the exciting, and unbeaten, Jamie Conlan (19-0, 11). As a result it's left Inoue in a bit of a frustrating position, as a lot of the top contenders with the WBO at 115lbs are now booked in other bouts, and the champions are all currently occupiued themselves.
Today Mr Ohashi held a press conference to talk about Inoue's future and stated that his next bout would be a normal defense of the title, but that he was having issues getting an opponent for his champion, with many top fighters already having fights set between now and the end of the year.
The WBO rankings have Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25) ranked #1, but he's going the route of the WBC of which he has a mandatory title fight, at #2 they have Rex Tso (21-0, 13) [曹星如], who turned down the chance to face Inoue earlier in the year and will face former Inoue victim Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14) [河野 公平] in October. In the #3 position is Conlan, who as mentioned will face Ancajas.
A planned bout with Roman Gonzalez (46-2, 38) has been the dream bout for Inoue and Ohashi, but the shine got taken off that bout with Gonzalez suffering back to back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], who is mandated to defend against Estrada.
With so many top divisional challengers out of the mix it does seem like Ohashi will need to pull a rabbit out of the hat to get Inoue a genuinely interesting opponent. However there are options out there, and the WBO rankings do show some interesting names for Inoue. They include the big punching Aston Palicte (23-2, 19), who is ranked #4 in the latest rankings, former Minimumweight champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai (66-1-1, 27) is ranked #6 and is known in Japan for for wins over Eagle Den Junlaphan, Junichi Ebisuoka, Yasutaka Kuroki and of course his sole loss to Kazuto Ioka, and former WBC champion Carlos Cuadras (36-2-1, 27) is ranked #10 and would be a plausible foe for Inoue, despite recent losses to Gonzalez and Estrada.
It could also be a case that Ohash will look outside of the top WBO top 15 Super Flyweights, and and potentially make an offer to a fighter like Francisco Rodriguez Jr (24-4-1,16), who is #3 ranked at Flyweight, who is known for his exploits in the lower weights and has got some name value, especially with Japanese fans who will fondly remember his bout with Katsunari Takayama.
At the moment Ohashi is said to be looking at his options for Inoue's ring return, though a decision has clearly not yet been made in regards to his opponent.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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