Meet Raymond Poon, Rex Tso's 'successor' and Hong Kong's next big boxing star

Meet Raymond Poon, Rex Tso's 'successor' and Hong Kong's next big boxing star

Through pure hard work and persistence, Raymond Poon is on his way to becoming Hong Kong’s next big boxing star

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Poon, “the next Rex Tso”, puts his wins down to hard work, not natural talent.

Raymond Poon went from being just a kid from Tin Shui Wai to an Asian boxing champion and, on Saturday night, Hong Kong’s next big star.

“Hong Kong people: you can do anything – just look at me!” the 22-year-old yelled after defeating Japan’s Ryo Narizuka via majority decision. He won the World Boxing Council Asian Boxing Council (WBC ABCO) light flyweight continental and Asian Boxing Federation (ABF) titles in Wan Chai’s Southorn Stadium.

With rumours that Hong Kong’s beloved hometown hero Rex “Wonderkid” Tso is considering retirement, the city is in need of a new boxing icon – and Poon seems both willing and capable enough to fill that void.

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“Rex is the reason I started boxing,” said Poon, who started boxing when he was 18 and has quickly risen to the top. “I saw him in the ring and it made me want to experience that myself.”

Now, having trained with Rex for several years at the DEF Boxing gym, and having travelled several times to the Philippines to find more high-level sparring partners, he now finds himself carrying the torch for Hong Kong boxing.

Ryo Narizuka (left) and Poon at the weigh in before their fight.
Photo: Def Promotions

“Rex taught me that if I want to be a true professional fighter that can fight 10 rounds, I need to work harder and really focus on my training,” Poon said.

It was anything but an easy road for Poon, whose father earned HK$10,000 a month as a cook, and who claims he was never particularly good at anything.

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“I was never good at sports, never good at studying,” said Poon, whose parents encouraged him to find another job. “When I first started boxing as an amateur, I kept losing, and my coaches from other gyms told me I had no talent. They told me I should give up.

“At that time I was hurt, but I refused to give up. I wanted one more chance and then I found DEF. I started working harder, training harder, and now I think I changed the way my doubters talk about me.”

Poon said one of the reasons he fell in love with boxing is that you can find success through pure, unadulterated hard work.

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“You don’t have to be talented to be the best, you just have to work the hardest,” he said.

Another thing he loves is the thrill of being in the ring.

“Having everyone’s eyes on you while you show them all of your skills that you work so hard to develop … it’s the best feeling I’ve ever experienced.”

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Poon understands there are many media obligations – as well as a lot of pressure from Hong Kong’s demanding fans – that come with being dubbed “the next Rex Tso”. But Poon, who is always calm and positive, said he is more than ready for that challenge.

“I have enough experience in the ring now – when I fight, I feel calm,” said Poon, who now has six professional wins and one loss on his record. He hopes to add a lot more wins before his career is over.

He also hopes to inspire more Hongkongers to do the things they love because, as Tso’s rise to fame has shown, you shouldn’t let other people’s doubts stop you from pursuing your dreams. Poon’s titles are a testament to that self-belief.

“And if I can do it, anyone can,” he said.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Road to stardom

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