The "Showdown at Sands" main event may be several hours away but first part of the under-card, streamed live on Toprank.tv, is now over and it's given us some excitement already.
The showed kicked off with exciting Filipino prospect Aston Palicte (17-1, 15) who scored a 7th round TKO against the gutsy but out gunned Ismael Garnica (13-6-1, 5). The bout was a brilliant way to open the show with both men letting their hands go though it always seemed that Palicte hit too hard, land too often and was simply too strong for the plucky Mexican. The stoppage, came when referee Eddie Claudio decided Garnica had had enough and whilst it was a mercy stoppage few would complain about it with Garnica seemingly wilting in front of our eyes. For Palicte this was his debut on a major international broadcast and he impressed though still has work to do if he's to compete at a higher level.
The second bout on the show was a mismatch as the heavy handed Jose Felix Jr (29-1-1, 24) blew away Filipino foe Raymond Sermona (17-5-5, 8) in the opening round. The bout really never looked likely to be competitive though we did expect a little more from Sermona who seemed happy to take the count after being dropped. It was an
After a couple of 1-sided bouts we got a really good up-and-down contest between Macau's very own Kuok Kun Ng (7-0, 3) and Thai southpaw Chingchai Kiatpracha (7-3, 3). The bout started fast with Ng the aggressor and Chingchai the counter puncher. Unfortunately for Ng that saw him walking into a counter shot when he went all out on the offensive and was dropped for the first time in his career. Ng managed to have more success in the second round before dropping the Thai early in round 3. The Thai never really recovered and Ng managed to rock Chingchai soon afterwards as the two traded shots. With his man hurt Ng went on an all out offensive charge and dropped Chingchai a second time with the Thai staying down for the count.
The real stand out bout was the final of the Toprank streamed under-card contests and was a genuine contender for a FOTY nomination as the hugely popular Rex Tso (16-0, 9), fighting for the first time since signing a professional contract with Top Rank, went toe-to-toe with little known Filipino Michael Enriquez (10-3-1, 6). The bout was a mismatch according to the bookies, Tso entered as a 33/1 favourite but was dragged into an all out war that saw both men being hurt, both men taking bombs and both men digging deep. At the end Tso just did enough on the scorecards, courtesy of a knockdown in round 4, to take the decision but it was one that showed he's not ready to fight for a world title. Tso did claim the WBA International Super Flyweight title but needs to put time into the gym before trying to lure a world champion to Macau. The fight showed how gutsy and brave Enriquez was but also how lacking Tso is in terms of his boxing development as he spent far too long trading and fighting rather than boxing and in many ways it reminded us of his war with Mako Matsuyama. Whilst Tso is very fan friendly he's still defensively all over the place and that will be punished if he steps up before he sorts it out.
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