Mohammed Rabii moved top of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Individual 69kg rankings after claiming his 5th straight victory of the season in London last night.
The Moroccan welter was ahead on points when his fight with Haizel Ekow Tabiri-Essuman of the British Lionhearts was stopped near the end of the third after Rabii suffered, as reported, a deep cut at York Hall.
Last night’s win lifted the North African ace four points clear of Russia’s Radzhab Butaev and nine points ahead of Ireland’s Steven Donnelly, but with one less fight remaining.
Butaev can edge one point clear of Rabii with victory versus Cuba in Moscow tonight.
Butaev is in against current Olympic champion Roniel Iglesias-Sotolongo, who Rabii has beaten this season, while Donnelly, the 2014 Irish Elite champion, meets Arnegtina’s Ignacio Alberto Palmetta in Argentina tomorrow evening looking to record his fourth win of the season for the Hussars of Poland.
If Iglesias-Sotolongo secures a maximum of five points versus Butaev tonight and Donnelly does likewise against Palmetta, Donnelly will move into joint second spot (on points) with Butaev in the table.
Meantime, Rabii’s injury will be a cause for concern for his coaches as the race for Rio 2016 heads into its final month.
The top top ranked welterweights at the end of the regular WSB season in April will qualify for the 31st Olympiad.
Donnelly’s final two bouts for the Hussars of Poland after this weekend will be away to Italia Thunder on April 11 and at home to Venezuela on April 24.