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.
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