Earlier today the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported an update in regards to the boxing career of Hong Kong star Rex Tso [曹星如], who famously hung up the professional gloves in an attempt to make his mark in the amateurs.
The 33 year old Tso told the SCMP that his focus was still on the Tokyo Olympics, and that he's continuing to train for the Olympics, and other notable amateur events, including the World Amateur Championships in future. That's despite the fact he turns 34 in July.
In a quote to the SCMP Tso revealed “Right now, I am focused on achieving my goal and that is to qualify for the Tokyo Games. I need to maintain my fitness and improve my technique and footwork." Despite that being his focus he is said to be having problems with maintaining his fitness and training regime due to gyms being closed in Hong Kong, and whether or not the Olympics themselves will even take place.
As for his training, as gym's are closed Tso is typically training in public parks, with running and pad work, which is obviously not as good as sparring and bag work.
What makes things for Tso is the fact he is shareholder in a gym, a gym that he can't train in as Hong Kong continues to try and battle the on going pandemic, which is now in the 4th wave in the country.
Tso's ambition to compete in the Olympics is a notable one, and if he can manage to qualify for the games, something he's hoping to get the chance to do in June in Paris, he would become the first Hong Kong fighter to qualify for Olympics since 1964, when Law Hon-pak and Lee Kam-wah presented the nation.
Sadly however Tso was unable to book his place in the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers last year, where he lost to Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov and Daniyal Shahbaksh. Those bouts, back in March, were his last contests and since then he has been struggling to train and to get himself into the right mindset.
Yesterday at the Ultimate Extreme Fight-Hong Kong 2018 fight fans had the chance to see local star Rex Tso (22-0, 13) [曹星如] fight for the first time in over a year.
The former title contender, who has been away from boxing due to an eye injury, was fighting in an exhibition bout, as he took on Taiwanese amateur fighter Chiang Yi Hung.
Despite the contest being an exhibition Tso was judged to have won the bout, with the referee raising his hand after the 3 round exhibition.
After the bout Rex took to the microphhone and announced that his plan was to change his focus from the professional scene to the 2020 Olympics and he was looking to qualify for the games in Tokyo, returning to the amateur scene to do so.
At the moment that seems like a questionable plan, given that boxing's inclusion at the Olympics is hanging by a thread, but shows that Tso's focus is on the sport and that this wasn't just some one off.
For those interested in the event, we've included some highlights from Tso's bout below,
Right now the boxing calendar is just hectic, and getting busier by the day, with a lot of announcements set to be made over the coming days.
Recently the UEF in Hong Kong announced their next show, and although it's not professional boxing as such it does featured local boxing star Rex Tso (22-0, 13) [曹星如], who will be fighting for the first time since October 2017.
The unbeaten Hong Kong fighter hasn't fought since beating Kohei Kono. That bout saw him suffer a nasty eye injury which has kept him out of the ring for 13 months. Recently Tso has revealed that his boxing career isn't over, despite reports to the contrary, and that he is focusing on returning to boxing in the future.
According to the Hong Kong press Tso has been training with amateur fighters in Hong Kong and that his bout at Ultimate Extreme Fight-Hong Kong 2018 will be the start of his comeback. He has told the press in Hong Kong that the bout will allow him to see how his body feels, and how he will approach his future in the sport really depends on how he feels after the bout.
The exhibition will be fought over 3 rounds of 3 minutes and is scheduled to take place from 7PM local time on November 30th, with a weight limit of 56KG's, around 123.5lbs, well above Tso's usual fighting weight. His "opponent" will be Chiang Yi Hung, who is a notable amateur from Taiwan and the bout will take place at the Southorn Stadium in Hong Kong.
We suspect that this really will be the "start" of Tso's return to professional boxing, and we'll see him in his next professional bout early next year as he looks to build from where he was in 2017.
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.
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