Subject to Boxing Union of Ireland approval, the near neighbours look set to trade leather for the BUI Celtic light welterweight title on July 7th on the ‘The Beginning’ card at the National Stadium in what could turn out to be an intriguing clash of styles.
Team Kelly are in a confident mood, with the fighter revealing to Irish-Boxing.com that he dropped Rabei on a club show in the amateurs.
The Steven O’Rourke-trained Rabei [4(1)-0] refutes the claim and stressed that, if Kelly has taken the clash on the back of any previous encounter, they he has made a grave error.
The Assassin Boxing man doesn’t see how a fight which played out many years ago and under very different circumstances has relevance today.
“I don’t know where they got that from… I do remember fighting him on some club show about seven years ago. It was my first fight in a long time and I don’t think I was even in the gym. I did hurt my nose I remember that, but I wasn’t down,” Rabei, who had to pull out of two shows in England this month due to illness, told Irish-Boxing.com.
“Anyway if they are taking anything from that fight going into this one they are making a mistake. Not only was it so long ago I wasn’t even fit that night. It’s completely different now.”
JB Promotions boss and current BUI welterweight title holder Jay Byrne attempted to goad the undefeated fighter during the press conference to officially announce the show.
The Irish title hopeful suggested his charge Kelly did a better job on mutual opponent Damian Lawniczak – despite suggestions from Rabei he would out perform his fellow prospect.
Speaking after the presser, Rabei claimed he was surprised the show’s promoter raised Lawniczak claiming he did in fact do a much better job on the journeyman than Monkstown’s Kelly [1(0)-1(0)].
“They are trying to make comparisons to our fights against Lawniczak. I totally dominated him in my fight. I think they gave him the last round against me, but I don’t know how. I was in control, comfortable and boxed at ease,” continued the St Michael’s Inchicore fighter.
“Okay, Karl dropped him, but he still only one by a round or two [39-36] that looks more favourable on me so I don’t know why Jay [Byrne, promoter] brought that up and wants it out there.”
While their meeting at the press conference on Thursday was tetchy – with the added input of Crumlin rival Martin Quinn – Rabei was keen to credit his opponent and the match.
He described how “it’s a good fight, one I am excited about. I won an all-Irish fight [v Mark Morris] last time out and now I can do it again.”
“Karl is a good fighter and a good guy, but I think I have the advantage as he has to move up in weight.
“Karl is a good lad, there is no point in saying he doesn’t have power because he can bang, but my last opponent [Morris] is a noted puncher, he is known for packing a punch and look how that fight turned out.”
Rabei, whose future looks to be at lightweight, believes the fight being made at light welter will suit him more than Kelly – who looks to be able to make feather.
The Rathmicheal man stated that “I think I will have too much for Karl, too much skill and ring craft – and I will have a size advantage.
“I hope the title is on the line. If it is I think we should get TV which would be great. I have said from the start I wanted titles and big fights this is a stepping stone to that.”
“The plan is to beat him [Kelly] and then Martin Quinn can have a go if he wants.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)