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Eddie Hyland thinks ‘whinging’ Victor Rabei will pull out of Jake Hanney clash

Dublin boxing’s ‘bold boy’ will show just how good he is on March 30th – if Victor Rabei doesn’t pull out the fight, says the straight to the point Eddie Hyland.

The former Irish champion and reigning Irish Trainer of the Year has been impressed with the talent, desire, and dedication of Jake Hanney since teaming up with the Dubliner with a reputation for enjoying the nightclub dancefloor.

Indeed, Hyland is adamant the only way the latest addition to the TNT stable can lose the eagerly anticipated BUI Celtic title clash set for the National Stadium at the end of the month is if he self-implodes or enters the ring without the right kind of self belief.

The oldest of the three boxing Hyland brothers believes Hanney will be too big and strong for Rabei fighter and is predicting an East Wall win live on the TG4 cameras.

Hyland is looking forward to a fighter whose talent, if not his application, has always been respected, finally showing people what he can do.

However, the Jobstown coach still worries that Hanney may not get the chance.

The trainer claims he is genuinely worried that Rabei will pull out of the fight noting how he has picked up bad vibes, albeit from afar, from the champion and fears the worst.

“I am skeptical to be honest. I’d be surprised if Victor turns up on the night,” Hyland told Irish-Boxing.com.

It’s not an unusual line to be trotted out in tense fight build ups, but Hyland delivers it with sincerity.

Carl McDonald, Graham McCormack and Siobhan O’Leary’s coach isn’t trying to stir the pot or hype what promises to be a sensational fight, he stresses that he is genuinely concerned.

“That is my God’s honest opinion. You know me I just say it how I see it. It’s not a fight until he is in there. I know Jake wants it, but I think he will probably pull out injured. He has been whinging about defending his title against Jake.”

“If you want to be a fighting champion you fight anyone and I am just being straight here. That is just how I was. If I got challenged I didn’t care who you were I’d fight you.”

“Don’t get me wrong, Victor is a good boxer and I’d say a nice lad, but that is just my opinion I wouldn’t be happy to have my fighter whinging like that, I’d be worried.”

In fairness to Rabei, he has shown dedication and bottle since he has turned pro and there is nothing in his past to suggest the reigning champion will be a no show.

However, if, as expected, he does turn up, Hyland still only sees one winner.

The former pro believes ‘The Wizard’ will be too strong for the St Michael’s man and claims the knowledge of having to cut off the ring against one of the slickest of operators Dublin has seen in Paulie Hyland means Hanney knows exactly what to do if Rabei tries to outbox the noted puncher.

“He is progressing brilliantly. Victor has said he will stop him inside six, I’ll tell you now that isn’t going to happen,” asserted Hyland.

“They say it will be over early and it might be, but trust me, it won’t be Victor stopping Jake.”

“I have seen pictures of him up sparring these solid boxers and the only good one I have seen is Tennyson and probably David Oliver [Joyce], but I don’t think these lads would be able to stand with Jake at 63.5kgs.”

“Jake hits too hard. There is no way Victor will or can stand with Jake. He will be like the Road Runner, trust me. I have every angle covered in terms of this fight.”

“I know he is a good slick boxer but, listen, my brother was the slickest in the country for ages if anyone knows how to get to people like that it’s me. I am a predator, I had to learn how to cut off the ring and I have been teaching Jake how to do that,” he adds before suggesting there is one way Rabei may have hope.

“It will be an interesting fight. In my eyes, the only way Jake doesn’t win this fight is if he beats himself. If he doesn’t believe in himself he gives Victor a chance.”

While the trainer suggests belief may be an issue, some may point to Hanney’s previous as a reason to back Rabei in a fight that could reignite the TV audience’s love affair with Irish boxing.

Hanney has been accused of not living the life during the middle of his pro career, but Hyland claims that couldn’t be further than the case ahead of this title clash.

The TNT boss laid down the lay when he allowed the former BUI Celtic title challenger to join the team and claims Hanney has yet to break the rules.

“Stephen [Sharpe, manager] asked me to work with Jake in August and I liked Jake anyhow, he is one of our own. So he came down and was doing a bit of bag work, bit of sparring with Graham [McCormack] and Patrick [Hyland] just to get the ring rust out of him.”

“I told him before Celtic Clash 8 I wasn’t going to be interested in training him because I had Carl, Graham and Siobhan to train for that show. After that show I pulled him aside and said ‘I have heard a lot of stories about you and you don’t do that shit with me. If you fuck up once your out’.”

“I even told him if he missed a training session he was out. He had been coming down before that, but since we officially linked up he hasn’t missed a session. I can’t say anything other than I have been impressed with him.”

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).


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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