By Jake Donovan
Unbeaten super flyweight prospect Rex Tso was given all that he could handle in taking a majority decision win over Thailand's Rusalee Samor
Scores were 57-57 even, and 59-55 and 58-56 in favor of Hong Kong's Tso in a furiously paced six-round preliminary bout that served as the final of the non-televised portion of Saturday's show at Venetian Macao in Macao, China.
Tso (10-0, 6KO) enjoyed a massive edge in height and reach, but the 26-year old southpaw struggled to put those advantages to use. That was largely due to the aggression of Samor, who smiled and celebrated throughout the contest - and more importantly fought to win.
The effort was enough to provide anxious moments by the time ring emcee Lupe Contreras was ready to read the scorecards, but it was a well-deserved win for Tso, even if the 59-55 card was a bit too wide.
Samor was valiant - and more importantly, entertaining and gracious - in defeat as his record moves to 20-5-2 (9KO).
Genesis Servania survived two knockdowns and a pair of cuts to take a technical split decision win over Japan's Konosuke Tomiyama in a bout stopped midway though the ninth round.
A headbutt left Servania with a vicious facial scar that was deemed too severe to continue.
Both fighters were down twice, including a combined three knockdowns in the opening round alone. Servania hit the deck twice, but in between floorings managed to also deposit Tomiyama to the canvas, setting the tone for what would remain a fever pitched bout for its duration.
Servania was also forced to overcome an early cut - also produced by an accidental headbutt - as he slowly took control of the earlier rounds. Tomiyama was floored for the second time in the contest, hitting the deck hard midway through the bout but determined to dust himself off and fight on.
Fight on he did, as the two traded bombs for as long as the bout would last, thoroughly entertaining the capacity crowd on hand.
However, the fun came to an end and in-ring confusion prevailed when an accidental clash of heads midway through the 9th round left Servania bloodied and unfit to continue according to the ringside physician. The bout was waved off, leading Tomiyama (23-6-1, 8KO) to believe he was awarded a TKO victory.
Much to his dismay, the bout went to the scorecards where he only came ahead on one of the three tallies by an 85-84 margin. The card was overruled by scores of 86-83 and 87-82 in favor of Servania, who remains unbeaten at 22-0 (8KO).
Dave Penalosa scored a third round knockout of debutant Ngaotawa Sithsaithong in the show's curtain raiser. A perfectly timed uppercut put Sithsaithong (0-1, 0KO) down early in the third. The debuting Thai tried in vain to rise to his feet, but could never properly gain his balance as he was counted out.
The official time was 0:47 of round three. Penalosa - the son of Dodie Boy Penalosa Sr. and nephew of Gerry Penalosa - improves to 7-0 (5KO), this win coming on the heels of his 2nd round knockout on the debuting card at Venetian Macao this past April.
HBO2 will offer a same-day tape-delayed broadcast of three-time Olympic medalist Zou Shiming's six-round main event versus Jesus Ortega, along with a pair of title fights: unified flyweight titlist Juan Francisco Estrada versus Milan Melindo in a potential Fight of the Year candidate; and Evgeny Gradovich in his first featherweight title defense as he faces Mauricio Munoz.
A heavyweight bout between unbeaten prospects Andy Ruiz and Joe Hanks will air much later Saturday evening - technically still same-day tape-delay - on UniMas in the United States.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox