Jamie Conlan [19(11)-0] may need to wait a bit longer than expected before he can challenge for a world title.
The Belfast super flyweight has been ranked highly with the WBO for years, and late last year promoter Frank Warren would secure the Falls Road fighter a final eliminator for the belt.
It had been the plan of Conlan and his team to delay this eliminator as it was assumed that the imperious current champion Naoya Inoue would soon move up in weight and perhaps allow ‘The Mexican’s’ final eliminator become a vacant title shot.
This roadmap had seemingly been kicked into gear, with Conlan revealing plans for a title fight with WBO #1 Rex Tso toward the end of the year – should the Irishman get through his eight-round contest on the BoxNation ‘Battle of Belfast’ card at the Waterfront Hall on Saturday June 17th.
This plan however has now been scuppered, with Inoue seemingly staying at 115lbs, and Tso agreeing an eliminator with another opponent.
A press conference yesterday confirmed that Tso [21(13)-0] will face former WBA super flyweight champion Kohei Kono on Saturday October 7th at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong.
36 year old Kono [32(13)-10(1)-1] lost his belt last Summer to Luis Concepcion, and would then challenge Inoue in December, being stopped in the sixth round.
The WBO route could become closed off for the foreseeable future, with Tso’s promoter Jay Lau Chi-yuen telling the South China Morning Post that “we’re ironing out the contract that will include a clause that will state that if Kono beats Rex, there will be a rematch. If we beat Kono, we’ll move on to fight Inoue next year.”
Conlan is ranked #4 with the WBO, while Kono is unranked. In terms of the other bodies, the 30 year old Ulsterman is currently rated #20 with the WBC following his WBC International Silver title win over Yader Cardoza in March.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show: