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COVID couldn’t KO Victor Rabei’s American warm-up plans

COVID was never going to stop the luckless Victor Rabei [9(2)-0] from warming up for his big American debut in Belgium tomorrow.

‘Slick Vic’ contracted COVID just two weeks shy of what will be his first fight since September of last year and only his second since May of 2019.

However, pulling out never crossed his mind, partially because of the injury disappointments that kept him inactive for a year – and especially because he has a massive crossroads fight set up for the Autumn.

The former BUI Celtic champion trained through the pain to ensure he was ready to travel to Belgium to fight on the All Eyez on Brussells card.

Although he admits he doesn’t go into the clash at peak fitness.

“I was vaccinated 3 weeks before so I think it really took the edge off it,” he told Irish-boxing.com.

“I had a stuffy nose for a few days. I trained through it in my gym at home, first two days were really tough, but then I eased back into it and felt good a few days later. I’m not 100% in terms of fitness, but mentally I’m more than ready to go,” he adds before explaining how keen he is to get fighting again.

“I’m delighted to get back in the ring. I’ve had an awful lot of bad luck leading up to fights. I was meant to fight at the end of May but then I fractured my hand. Now I got COVID with two weeks to go before a fight. I couldn’t cancel another fight, so I pushed through it, thankfully I feel great and I’m ready go.”

Considering the layoff and the potential for a COVID hangover the opponent won’t be too taxing. The Steven O’Rourke trained fighter is expecting a durable foe but will ultimately use the fight as a ring rust-freeing exercise.

“This weekend I’m just looking to get back in the ring and blow off the cobwebs. I predict that I will win in great fashion. I want to get rounds in as I haven’t fought in nearly a year but we will see how we get on. Steve and I have worked out on a lot of new things, so we will try implement them into the fight on Sunday night.

“I’m in against a tough nut, but nothing I haven’t faced before. I want to get comfortable in the ring and move on to big fights.”

The Moldovan Dub does have a big fight on the horizon, a clash with American Omar Bordoy [11-1] looks likely for the Autumn.

The Star Boxing fighter was due to face the 26-year-old in a November 2019 crossroads fight but injury and then the pandemic has forced it’s delay.

Rabei believes it will finally happen before the year is out and is keen to get it on.

“After this, it’s definitely stateside. We’ve been in contact with Star Boxing over the past couple of months and it’s looking like the end of October, early November against Omar Bordoy. Their borders have been closed since the start of the pandemic and it looks like they’ll be opening up very soon – and I’ll be on the first plane over there.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com