By Unus Alladin
Former world champion Ricky Hatton says Hong Kong's Rex Tso Sing-yu had "every chance" of being signed by his stable in future but that the young fighter was now only taking "baby steps" towards becoming a world-class fighter.
Hatton was impressed by Tso's 10th-round TKO victory over Timur Shailezov of Kyrgyzstan that earned him the vacant WBC AMCO Asia Continental super flyweight title during a recent main event bout in the Road To Glory showpiece at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The former world light-welterweight and welterweight champion said the 25-year-old boxer had a "great chance" of being signed to Hatton Promotions, provided he continues to improve as a fighter.
"To be honest, there's a lot of pressure on the young man's shoulders," said Hatton, who helped stage and personally attended the fight in Hong King
"We haven't signed anyone from Asia at the moment. We are here to basically raise awareness of boxing in Asia because in this part of the world, it seems nothing really happens [in terms of boxing]. I would sign Rex right now, but he needs to slow down a bit. You don't sign somebody until he really establishes himself. But Rex seems to have a huge fan base.
"Hopefully, I will return to Hong Kong with another show in the near future and see how it goes. There's a lot of talent in this part of the world that can be unearthed."
Hatton was impressed by Tso's grit in overcoming the tenacious Shailezov, who was unable to answer the bell in the 11th round of the 12-round contest. The historic win should propel Tso into the top 30 of the WBC rankings.
"Rex did a fantastic job. He's in the very early stages of his boxing career. He showed a lot of power and took a lot of punches. He's a wonderful fighter. Honestly, I want to see him improve."
Tso said it would be up to his trainer, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, to decide what direction he wanted to take him, but Tso said he was encouraged by his win and wants to fight again early next year, perhaps in a heavier weight category.
"My coach said I should put on a bit of muscle and maybe compete as a super featherweight. That means adding about five kilograms," he said.