Rex Tso vs Kohei Kono for the WBO International super-flyweight title
Where: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
When: Saturday 7th October, 10PM Hong Kong, 3pm UK time
TV: Not televised in USA or UK
Up-and-coming unbeaten star Rex Tso (21-0) faces his toughest test to date on Saturday night as he collides with the experienced Kohei Kono (33-10-1) in Hong Kong for the WBO International super-flyweight title. At 30 years of age, “The Wonder Kid”, Tso, is coming off an eighth round KO win over Hirofumi Mukai in March as he retained his WBC–ABCO and WBO International super-flyweight titles and won the WBO Asia Pacific super-flyweight title in front of his home crowd.
Fighting his third Japanese opponent in a row in Kohei Kono, Tso will have age on his side as he looks to take the scalp of the experienced former world champion Kono, as the challenger travels to Hong Kong for the first time in his career. With losses against the exceptional Luis Concepción and Naoya Inoue in his last three fights, Kono is meeting Tso at a real cross-roads period of his career, as the 36-year-old looks for one final push towards world honours.
At the final press conference this week, Tso explained how he was making weight for this super flyweight belt, with a new diet being crucial to his preparations –
“I’ve been on a vegetarian diet over the past few weeks. No meat, and just light salad. I feel like I’m eating grass all day but I can’t really complain. I feel good and I’m very confident of making weight on Friday”
With rumours that Jamie Conlan was set to get this fight against Tso circulating earlier this year, Kono is pleased at the opportunity to fight at this level again, and is ready to take it with both hands. His promotor proclaimed –
His nickname back in Japan is ‘Tough Boy’,” and when the Japanese call a fighter ‘tough’, you know he’s going to be a very strong opponent
Despite being stopped against the dangerous Naoya Inoue inside six rounds, Kono’s heart and durability are still an unknown quantity at this stage in his career. The Japanese former world champion has been in a lot of wars during his 17 year tenure, and despite being stopped only that once, it is clear that his career is on the gradual decline.
This is the first real step up in class for Tso, who has a clean record with 13 knockouts accompanying his 21 wins, so how “The Wonder Kid” deals with Kono’s tactics will be crucial to how this fight plays out, with the 30-year-old needing to fight smart against the older man.
If Tso can use his feet, use the ring and get in the clinch when Kono tries to fight on the inside, then this should prove to be a fairly comfortable routine victory for Tso. However, if Tso decides to exchange early in the fight with Kono and fight the Japanese star toe-to-toe, we could have a very different ending on our hands.
Kono is a very good inside fighter and loves a short distance in the middle of the ring. As well as this, Kono isn’t labelled “Tough Guy” without any foundation, and being the stronger man of the two will suit a rough and ready fight slugged out in the middle of the ring.
As well as showing more technical capabilities than Kono, Tso is a southpaw fighter and should use this stance to his advantage. If Tso boxes clever, moves and can negate the experienced tactics of the challenger, then expect a wide decision victory for “The Wonder Kid” in Hong Kong.
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