Rex Tso managed to preserve his unbeaten record, but was forced to survive two knockdowns and a world of determination from Thailand's Ratchasak Kokietgym to take a unanimous decision in their 10-round war Saturday evening at Cotai Arena in Macau, China.
Scores were 97-91 (twice) and 96-92 in favor of Tso.
Things went well for Tso early on, staggering Kokietgym in the opening round and offering a healthy mix of boxing and brawling. His penchant for entertainment, however, caught up to him in round three. Fighting with his hands low and defense wide open, Tso was left vulnerable as Kokietgym managed to score a knockdown midway through the 3rd round.
Tso appeared unfazed, but was unable to defensively adjust. Kokietgym recognized the flaw and unloaded, punching in combination to drop Tso hard late in the round.
To his credit, Tso did his best to avert disaster, wisely utilizing his height and reach advantage while shaking loose the cobwebs. There was still plenty of action for the crowd on hand, but deliberate adjustments by Tso saved the day while he will have to find ways to improve his defense.
Tso moves to 13-0 (8KO) with the win. Kokietgym heads back to Thailand with his held high even in defeat, his record now at 22-3-1 (10K).
Yang Ik blitzed through Geisler AP, power punching his way to a 1st round knockout in their super lightweight bout.
AP was put down three times in total, though only two of the sequences were ruled official knockdowns. Ik - a local favorite - put the Indonesian prospect down early with a body shot, then finished him off with a clean shot upstairs that forced AP's head to crash and bounce off of the canvas. The referee recognized the severity of the blow and immediately halted the contest following the second knockdown.
The official time was 2:24 of round one.
Ik rolls to 15-0 (10KO), while AP falls to 5-2 (3KO).
Chris Avalos overwhelemd Yasutaka Ishimoto in scoring an 8th round stoppage in their super bantamweight preliminary bout.
Avalos (24-2, 18KO) scored knockdowns in rounds one, two and eight. Ishimoto (24-7, 7KO) was brave, but perhaps too much for his own good, as the final knockdown prompted an immediate stoppage.
The official time was 0:44 of round eight.
Esquiva Falcao scored a unanimous decision over Eun-Chang Lee in their six-round middleweight preliminary bout. Scores were 59-55, 58-55 and 59-54 in favor of Falcao, who captured a Silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics as a member of the Brazil Olympic boxing squad.
Rex Tso (13-0, 8KO) UD10 (97-91 (2x), 96-92) Ratchasak Kokietgym
Yang Ik (15-0, 10KO) KO1 (2:24) Geisler AP
Chris Avalos (24-2, 18KO) TKO8 (0:44) Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-7, 7KO)
Esquiva Falcao (2-0, 1KO) UD6 (59-55, 58-55, 59-54) Eun-Chang Lee (7-3, 3KO)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox