Friday, March 31, 2023  |



Tso to face Mukai in Hong Kong, extends Top Rank deal

Photo credit: Chris Farina
Fighters Network

Top-rated junior bantamweight contender Rex Tso will test his popularity at home once again when he faces former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai on March 31 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

Tso (20-0, 12 knockouts) will be making his fourth straight start in Hong Kong, just across the Victoria Harbor from Macau, where his previous eight fights had taken place. The 29-year-old “Wonder Kid” will try to preserve his No. 1 ranking with the WBO at 115 pounds against Mukai, of Osaka, Japan.

Mukai, 31, challenged Srisaket Sor Rungvisai unsuccessfully for the WBC junior bantamweight title in 2013 and faced Pongsaklek Wonjongkam for the WBC flyweight title in 2011 in a one-round technical draw. He is coming off a second round TKO of another former title challenger, Inthanon Sithchamuang, last year.

Tso’s promoter DEF Promotions said in a statement that they will be working with Top Rank Promotions, who extended their two-year co-promotional arrangement with Tso for another 12 months, to secure a world title shot for Tso in 2017.

The junior bantamweight division is currently one of the deepest in all of boxing, with the WBO title currently held by Naoya Inoue of Japan, and the WBC belt, for which Tso is the No. 12 contender, held by THE RING’s pound-for-pound champion Roman Gonzalez. Kal Yafai, the unbeaten Englishman, won the WBA title from Luis Concepcion last December, while IBF titleholder Jerwin Ancajas is set for his first defense on Sunday in Macau.

Tso is rated Nos. 7 and 10 by the IBF and WBA, respectively.

Tso is now in Cebu City, Philippines, training at the Wakee Salud Gym alongside WBO bantamweight titleholder Marlon Tapales, with whom Tso has sparred in the lead-up to recent fights.

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.

Struggling to locate a copy of RING magazine? Try here or…


You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: the recently retired all-time great Bernard Hopkins.