Agreement reached as exciting title fight is sanctioned for ‘The Beginning’ card

The vacant BUI Celtic light welterweight title will be on the line when Karl Kelly and Victor Rabei fight at the National Stadium on July 7th.

Both fighters and their respective management outfits – JB Promotions and Assassin Promotions – who co promote the ‘The Beginning’ fight night, had agreed terms to fight over eight rounds and were hopeful that the stepping stone title would be on the line on a card that looks likely to get television coverage.

The match-up looks to be an exciting clash of styles, with Kelly [1(0)-1(0)] a come-forward brawler and the slick Rabei [4(1)-0] having an impressive start to pro life. Add to this a bit of needle, with Kelly claiming he knocked down Rabei in the amateurs, something the Moldovan-born fighter denies.

However, the Boxing Union of Ireland first wanted proof Kelly could fight at light welterweight – and just as they requested Roy Sheehan have a four round fight prior to entering Last Man Standing – they asked that the Declan Geraghty Snr-trained fighter trade leather at 140lbs over six before they ratified the title fight.

BUI welterweight Celtic champion and show promoter Jay Byrne was upset about the decision and vocal about his objections. Byrne noted how Kelly was extremely competitive over six rounds versus English hot prospect Lucas Ballingall at super featherweight and pointed out how an interim bout was an extra outlay his debut show didn’t need.

However, Team Kelly had explored the option and were set to travel to Mexico for a six round clash in a bid to ensure the title was on the line come July until a compromise was reached today.

After a meeting between the promoter and the board, Kelly took to the scales at BUI headquarters and showed footage of him competing at the weight in a semi-pro capacity. Obviously happy with what they saw, the board have sanctioned the fight.

The BUI confirmed the matter on social media tonight.

It’s a big boost for the show and a boost in terms of bringing another domestic title into play. The winner of the July 7th clash will almost certainly be on the radar of Martin Quinn – who has already called for the fight – while others such as Stephen Carroll, Jake Hanney, and even lightweight Ray Moylette may also be interested.

Kelly still may fight in Mexico in the coming weeks, with an itinerary already planned which will see him spend some time training at the famous Wild Card Gym – however, this is unconfirmed at present.


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