Clash of Styles? – Victor Rabei promises to bring the fight to Karl Kelly


“He didn’t show up, he was too scared!” blasts Victor Rabei with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

The Dublin light welterweight was speaking at the media workout for the ‘Celtic Clash 6’ bill this coming Saturday night [July 14th] at Good Counsel GAA Club in Drimnagh.

Rabei [4(1)-0] features in one of the headline bouts on the card but his BUI light welterweight Celtic title dance partner, Karl Kelly, was absent – meaning no face-off or back-and-forths.

The Rathmichael puncher quickly clarifies: “ah no, he was probably working or something.”

Rabei was due to face Kelly [1(0)-1(0)] in one of the headline fights of the cancelled JB Promotions card at the National Stadium last Saturday.

The week’s delay doesn’t really affect the Moldovan-born fighter who told Irish-Boxing.com that the only impact has been with tickets as the Longitude music festival takes place this weekend.

With the bout being packaged as a classic ‘clash of styles’, Team Kelly have noted that the smaller ring at Good Counsel compared to the National Stadium will suit their man, a come-forward slugger.

The speedy and skilful Rabei, however, reveals that he is planning to, at times, go to war with his Monkstown rival

“Absolutely,” he states. “I’m not going to run away for eight rounds.”

“I know Karl, I’ve seen Karl fight. I know what I’m expecting, I’m expecting a war. Karl has a big heart, he’s a fighter.”

“I presume his tactic is just going to be to come at me and not give me any room – I’m prepared for that.”

“I’ve been sparring big lads that can bang and I’ve handled them really, really well.”

Indeed, Rabei is promising to bring the fight to ‘Little Sexy’ and outlined how “we have different tactics, we’re going to push him on the backfoot and see how he feels. If he wants to have a war, toe-to-toe, then we’ll stay there.”

“I am the smarter boxer, I have the better footwork, and I think I hit stronger than him – a lot of people say that he has power, that he bangs, but he bangs at featherweight and super featherweight, I don’t think he can bring that up with him to 64kg.”

“It will be a very entertaining fight, I’m very excited about it and I want to fight, you’ll see a boxing and fighting exhibition.”

“I’m excited to fight in Good Counsel, I was there for a Thai Boxing show two weeks ago and the crowd was unbelievable. There wasn’t a big crowd but the venue is a lot bigger so the echoes just get you going.”

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Rabei is in great form following a long camp.

A title fight goal, too, has benefitted the 24-year-old talent who approaches the eight-rounder with clinical precision.

Rabei described how “it was a happier camp. You know who you’re fighting, you know that it’s for a Celtic title, you know that it’s a domestic fight. All of that just adds to the excitement.”

“Everything’s gone great, we had weekly goals, we had monthly goals, with fitness, with strength, with sparring, and we’ve hit them.”

“I feel in the best shape that I’ve ever been and I’m very excited about this fight.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie