Whilst we describe ourselves as boxing fans we all love seeing fighters who come to fight, rather than "box". They tend to be the guys, and girls, who make for great fights, dramatic contests, action brawls and in ring wars. They aren't always the most skilled people in the sport, but they constantly provide the most entertainment and are the people we would describe as being must watch. If you want to attract new fans into the sport you're always best off showing them fighters to begin with, rather than boxers. Today we delve into the closet to bring you a fight featuring one of Hong Kong's greatest fighters in a modern day Closet Classic.
Rex Tso (20-0, 12) vs Hirofumi Mukai (13-4-3, 3)
The Hong Kong fighter in question is Rex Tso, who consistently provided action and was the face of the Hong Kong scene thanks to his combination of thrilling in ring style, toughness, energy and charisma. The "Wonder Boy" was never the most polished of fighters, or the biggest of punchers, but what he was was a thrill a minute warrior who provided several FOTY contenders in a short but memorable career. Sadly he decided to go back to the amateurs when on the verge of a world title fight, though there is still some hope he return to the professional ranks one day.
The opponent for Tso in this particularly bout was Japan's Hirofumi Mukai. The talented Mukai was much more polished than Tso, and was a very talented amateur, but after turning professional he struggled to adapt to the professional scene. His lack of power was always an issue, and instead of being a dangerous guy in the ring he was often relying more on his heart and determination rather than his power. He would twice fight for world titles, facing Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and prove his toughness, but he never looked like a world champion in the making. The best he managed was winning the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, twice.
With Tso in action we knew to tune in and expect fireworks. Those fires were set off almost immediately with Tso pressing the fight and trying to drag Tso into a war. Mukai tried to avoid it but the pressure of Tso just built and built, forcing Mukai to fight back. A head clash part way through the first round saw Mukai suffer a cut over his left eye and be taken to the doctor in the first round, and he was dropped in round 2.
It was after that knockdown that the pace increased, with Mukai changing tactics. Rather than trying to avoid a fight, something that hadn't worked in the first round a bit, he decided to fight fire with fire. This gave us some crazy, wild and truly sensational action as both fighters tried to break the heart of the other. It was Tso's power against Mukai's toughness, Tso's front foot aggression against Mukai's blistering combinations and counters. This was all action, with both fighters throwing long flurries, trading combinations and putting on a show for the fans.
Tso and Mukai may never have hit the heights they had hoped for, but with this bout they gave us something that really hit the spot!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features