- The ‘Wonder Kid’ has been given an extra month to prepare for the Asia/Oceanic qualifiers now that it has been moved to Amman from March 3 to 11
- The former unbeaten professional boxer would need to be at his very best to have a chance of qualifying for Tokyo
Former unbeaten professional Rex Tso Sing-yu can be forgiven for being more apprehensive of his opposition than the coronavirus after flying to Jordan on Monday for the Olympic qualifiers.
The "Wonder Kid" has experienced an anxious five weeks after the coronavirus, now called Covid-19, threw the Asia/Oceania qualifiers in disarray earlier this month.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board decided that the original venue for the qualifiers had to moved away from Wuhan " epicentre of the deadly outbreak " and that a new city had to come in at short notice.
With the IOC deciding that Amman would stage the tournament from March 3 to 11, it has given Hong Kong's "Wonder Kid" a little more time to prepare for the enviable task at hand.
Wuhan dilemma for IOC as Hong Kong's Rex Tso gears up for Tokyo Olympic boxing qualifiers
"The qualifying tournament was supposed to have been held at the beginning of this month but due to the coronavirus (outbreak), I've been given another month to prepare for it, so it's not all too bad," said 32-year-old Tso, who still holds an impressive 22-0-0 (13 KOs) professional record before he turned amateur in November 2018.
"It (the postponement of the qualifiers) doesn't really affect me that much. I have been keeping myself busy by continuing with my training and fitness regime," he said at Hong Kong International Airport before his departure to Amman.
The deadly outbreak could be the least of Tso's worries. The former unbeaten pro has been given the difficult task of trying to book an automatic berth to this summer's Olympic Games after finishing his pro career in October 2017. With no official wins as an amateur yet (he has suffered two losses so far), Hong Kong's best-known boxer would have to be at his best if he is to qualify for Tokyo.
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"I don't think of (my task) too much and I will try to do my best and prepare myself the best I can. In fact, there are many countries where fighters are very tough. I don't think too much who I am going to fight, whether he's from this country or that country," said Tso, who leads a six-strong Hong Kong boxing team to Amman (five men and one woman). "I just hope to come back to Hong Kong with good news."
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Now competing as a featherweight (57kg or 125 pounds) after years fighting as a super flyweight (115 pounds), Tso would need to win all his bouts in Amman to qualify for Tokyo " a worrying task considering he has yet to notch a single victory as an amateur, according to statistics website Boxrec.
If he fails to get an automatic Olympic spot in Amman, he will be given a second chance in Paris in a "World Olympic Qualification Event" from May 13-20 but Tso isn't looking that far ahead.
Tso said the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong " and the world " has been "worrying for everybody" and the Hong Kong boxer advised people to be vigilant at all times.
"Many people are worrying about the coronavirus and have asked me to be careful. My wife keeps reminding me to wash my hands more often and to wash after touching any objects. Being vigilant is the safest way to prevent catching it," he said.
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