The Rathmicheal light welter defends his BUI Celtic title against his Dublin rival on the big TG4 ‘Clash of the Titans’ bill at the National Stadium on Saturday March 30th but Hanney’s coach, Eddie Hyland, has suggested that Rabei may pull out.
The Tallaght trainer had told Irish-Boxing.com that “I am skeptical to be honest. I’d be surprised if Victor turns up on the night – I think he will probably pull out injured.”
Rabei [6(2)-0] has responded to the statement with incredulity and has promised that he will turn up next Saturday and retain his title in front of a large terrestrial TV audience.
“I’m gobsmacked,” he told Irish-Boxing.com
“Why would I not show up on the night? Of course I’m going to show up on the night, this is professional boxing, I signed contracts to fight Jake Hanney on March 30th, I’ll be there.”
“That’s fucking ridiculous, to see what they’re saying.”
“I’ve showed up to all my fights, there’s no reason not to show up. I don’t know what is going through their heads.”
It’s the latest niggle in a tetchy enough build-up which will no doubt heat up further over the coming days.
Rabei, though, tries not to get too involved and notes how “I’ve never come out guns blazing, I’ve never tried to put anyone down but he’s come out saying he’s going to knock me out.”
“I don’t get into all that. At the end of the day, smack talk doesn’t win fights. It’s not going to derail me, actual smacks do. It’s about getting in the ring on the night and performing.”
One thing that is for sure is that Hanney, long lamented for an unprofessional approach, is up for the fight.
Linking up with Hyland has seen the mercurial East Wall talent knuckle down and he sees next Saturday as a big opportunity.
This is music to the ears of Rabei who stresses that the match-up was never an opportunistic one on his part and that he always hoped for a fit and motivated Hanney [5(4)-1(1)].
The St Michael’s Inchicore man explained how “I’ve prepared mentally and physically for what I think will be the best Jake Hanney.”
“I was never hoping that he’d miss training, that he wouldn’t do this or that, that’s not what I’m in the sport for.”
“When they offered me Jake Hanney I said ‘yes, absolutely’. It’s a tasty fight, it’s a clash of styles.”
“He’s, I want to say, entertaining, he’ll come at me, I’m very technical, so we’ll have to see what happens on the night but I’m very confident.”
Rabei has all-Irish previous having defeated Karl Kelly to win the belt last summer.
This fight was initially set for the National Stadium before being moved to Good Counsel GAA club where Rabei won a phonebox war in a relatively smaller ring.
With the Hanney bout taking place in the Olympic-sized National Stadium ring, there have been suggestions from the challenger and his team that Rabei will looking to ‘get his skates on’ – a seemingly obvious ploy to goad him into a toe-to-toe fight.
The 25-year-old isn’t rising to this particular barb and noted how “the massvie ring is to my advantage.”
“If Karl Kelly was in this ring with me he wouln’t have laid a glove on me, we’ll see what happens.”
“I don’t think Jake has great footwork, his boxing IQ, from what I’ve seen, there isn’t much footage, is not the best. All he has going for him is his power and, hopefully, his fitness.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
Tickets for ‘Clash of the Titans’ cost €40 (general), €60 (ringside), and €100 (VIP) and are available from the boxers involved or Ticketmaster (CLICK HERE).