Boxing will always have a mix of fighters, from the skilled "hit and don't be hit" fighters to in your face action warriors. One of the most popular action warriors right now may well be Hong Kong's all action Rex Tso (21-0, 13) [曹星如] who notched another thrilling win today as he stopped former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-5-3, 3) [向井 寛史] in a sensational 8 round war that could well end the year as FOTY contender.
The bout, streamed live over the Huawei Mobile HK facebook group, had kept fans waiting until incredibly late in Hong Kong but was worth staying up for with the two men putting on a genuine show from the first round to the eventual finish in round 8.
From the opening bell Tso looked like a man intent on making a statement and took the fight to Mukai with intense pressure, a lot of leather being thrown and a not letting Mukai have the space or time he needed to use his more typical boxing skills. It was the perfect gameplan from Tso who cu the distance and unloaded.
In round 2 Tso had a major break through, scoring his first knockdown of the Japanese visitor. Mukai, to his credit, got up and tried to fight fire with fire, and landed some very classy combinations on the counter, but couldn't hold back the raging bundle of energy that Tso.
Tso began to slow down in round 3, giving Mukai more openings, but even those openings couldn't really help Mukai who couldn't dent the chin of Tso and was forced to take much heavier shots than he was able to land himself. To his credit Mukai was trying things, regularly going to the body and mixing up his shots well, but they never stemmed the flow from Tso for long with the local star continuing to be a bully in a brilliant round 4.
By round 5 it was clear that Mukai was going to need Tso to blow himself out, or land something a bit special, that never came though and instead it was Mukai who was looking the more tired as he suffered a second knockdown, which seemed to come from a combination of exhaustion and a shot to the head in roudn 6. It could have been it from Mukai but the Japanese warrior spirit kept him in it and he played his part in an enthralling 7th round, suggesting there was still something left in his legs.
Sadly for Mukai no matter what eh tried he couldn't force Tso off him and in round 8 a huge Tso assault ended with a sickening right hand to the body which sent Mukai down for the third and final time. This time Mukai stayed down for the count, in pure agony. With he stoppage Tso added the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title to his collection of belts and moved a step further to securing a world title bout.
In many ways the performance was the perfect one for Tso. Despite the unorthodox nature of the stream there was more than 145,000 people watching at one point, and they get a treat, there was very few empty seats in the arena and Tso certainly highlighted not only his action style, and his skills but also his drawing power. For Mukai the loss was a painful one, and could well make the start of the end for his career, despite that he certainly played his part in a thrilling contest, and threw shots that would have seen off lesser fights.
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