Earlier this week fans of WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (31-8-1, 13) got news they weren’t wanting to get, and that was that his bout with Hong Kong star Rex Tso (18-0, 11) was off, at least until the end of the year.
A recent announcement by Tso’s co-promoter Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank Promotions, was that a deal between Tso and Kono couldn’t be made before Kono would have to face a mandatory defense. As a result a proposed Spring bout is now set backwards, to December at the earliest.
Instead of continuing to work on a Kono/Tso bout Arum has instead started to arrange a bout for his charge to face former world title challenger Young Gil Bae (26-5-1, 21), of South Korea, with the bout hopefully being made in May.
For Tso the bout would be his second against a former “world” level fighter, following a win in May 2013 over former WBC “interim” title holder Wandee Singwancha. Unfortunately Bae, like Singwancha, has proven little at Super Flyweight and in fact his world title fight, which came late last year, came at Minimumweight.
The Korean, who’s only real opponent of note is Wanheng Menayothin, will be fighting for the first time since that world title fight, but the 36 year old will go into the contest as a major under-dog and a man with real question marks over the durability, given he has been stopped 4 times in his 5 losses.
If Tso, as one expects, gets past Bae his team will try to match him with unbeaten Thai Norasing Kokietgym (18-0-1, 13) in September. This would be a huge step up in class for Tso and it would be one of the very few times that Tso would have faced a fighter who has something to lose, given that Norasing is highly ranked with the WBA and also holds a WBC world ranking.
If, and only if, Tso can beat both Bae and Norasing will Arum allow his fighter to fight Kono, if Kono is still the champion come December, insisting that Tso will have to be fully prepared for the champion.
Sadly this is a huge disappointment for neutral fight fans who would have been in for a treat had “The Wonderboy” shared the ring with the “Tokyo Tough Boy” in Spring. Thankfully there is a pleasing sub-story to all of this, with Kono now being rumoured to face interim champion Luis Concepcion (32-4, 24) in what is likely to be an all action war in it’s self.
Scott Graveson covers the Asian Boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info