After trading blows for the BUI Celtic light welterweight title live on TG4 in March both parties have been vocal about a rematch.
Victor Rabei recently told Irish-Boxing.com he wants a return – if the Irish title is on the line – after his May 17th Belfast keep-busy bout.
Indeed, there is speculation around a June clash in London.
However, Hanney claims this is a rare case of all smoke, but no fire from champion Rabei [7(2)-0].
The East Wall native believes his Rathmichael rival wanted to be seen to rematch keen, but never had any intention of making the fight.
Hanney claims Boxing Ireland Promotions have requested an offer to fight but it hasn’t been forthcoming and, from that, he surmises the Moldovan Dub doesn’t want anything to do with him.
“I want the rematch and he has said he wants the rematch non-stop, but when we said ‘make us an offer’, all the talk stopped. We are yet to get a offer,” a bemused and passionate Hanney told Irish-Boxing.com before stressing he has been told his recent foe doesn’t want a return.
“Boxing is a small circle and me and my team have been told by someone close to their team that they had no interest in taking the rematch, we have been told they don’t want it.”
Hanney also believes that Assassin raised a possible York Hall Irish fight believing it would be knocked back as a ridiculous move.
“They have been suggesting June 22nd in England hoping we wouldn’t fight away in England for an Irish title. They know it doesn’t make sense to do it. ”
“They just wanted to con the public into thinking Victor wanted it, but they are stuck now because I’ve said yes. We haven’t heard from them since. They shit their pants now we’ve said yes and it shows they never wanted it.”
When questioned as to whether his promoters offered Rabei the chance to fight for the title ‘The Wizard’ claims there was a slot on Celtic Clash 8 – a show Hanney fights on just seven days after Rabei appears in the same city on Summer Brawl – for the fight.
“As far as I know when he was shouting about June 22nd my team said we could do it in May in Belfast, but he said he had a fight in May. Another excuse.”
The Eddie Hyland-trained fighter also says he and Rabei discussed a rematch privately, but claims despite initial positive feedback, nothing has materialised.
“We talked twice online and said ‘yes let’s do it’. Then we went back and forth, I said ‘I’ll do June 22nd, make me a offer’, he said ‘my team will be in touch’. Then nothing.”
Hanney suggests the lack of willingness on behalf of the Steven O’Rourke-trained fighter comes from the fact he knows he got the decision over a fighter hampered by two years worth of ring rust.
“I won the fight and everybody knows that. I was only about 50% max on the night. People know what I’m about and I’m only getting stronger. That performance came on the back of a two year lay-off. I went straight into a title fight and a co-main event.”
“They’ve seen nothing yet and he knows it . My stock is only rising and my team and planning another route if they don’t it. One minute the Irish title is what he wants then it’s no, it’s a joke.”
Speaking directly after the TV broadcast win, Rabei did admit a Hanney rematch had no real appeal.
The Assassin fighter indicated that the risks were all his after he has steadily established a reputation, but in the proceeding weeks he noted that if Hanney was the only route to a coveted Irish title he’d ‘gladly beat him again’.
Having the bout in the York Hall in June does seem rather wasteful, with history and a bit of beef stewing it could be a rematch worthy of a TV show in Ireland should one occur later in the year – however, if it becomes too difficult to run shows in Ireland, abroad may become the only option.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)