It’s BUI Celtic champion, the winner of two-all Irish fights, and someone being tipped for big things in Victor Rabei versus an inactive fighter coming back off a two-year lay-off and a stoppage defeat in Jake Hanney – yet the latter is adamant the former is making a ‘big step up’ this Saturday.
There has yet to be a punch thrown, but Hanney has already come back with a bit of a bang.
The Inner City Dub, who was last seen losing to Tyrone McKenna as far back as March 2017, returns in a TG4-broadcast BUI Celtic title fight and has the confidence to predict he will be the A=side of the intriguing fight.
The 29-year-old suggests he has all the important advantages over his ‘Clash of the Titans’ rival.
‘The Wizard’ says he is bigger, hits harder and has more technical acumen than Rabei [6(2)-0], a fighter that has impressed en-route to the verge of domestic stardom.
“I don’t know much of him. I seen bits of him with Karl Kelly, just highlights, but I think this is a big big step up for him,” Hanney [5(4)-1(1)] told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I have been there, I boxed at a higher level. I think I will bring him places he has never been.
“I think stature will be an issue, really I do. I think he could make lightweight. I think I am going to be a bit more experienced than him and I mean no disrespect I know I have to be on my game, but I think he has every disadvantage in this fight. I am bigger, stronger and I am the better boxer.”
It may sound strange for some to hear a fighter with just six fights and a long lay off on his resume speak with such confidence.
However, Hanney has revealed he is now living the life under the strict stewardship of new coach Eddie Hyland and is in a far better position than he was before the McKenna title fight.
The East Wall talent recalled how “two weeks before the McKenna fight I hadn’t even done a full weeks’ training with working.”
“I was miles overweight, I was probably 75kg and I crashed trying to get done. I was just in saunas, I wasn’t even running because I was too lazy to run. I was just fighting for the payday, really.”
“Now I feel good, I feel really good. Over all my fights over the past six years, this is the most I’ve trained,” he adds before reflecting on his link-up with Hyland.
“I first rang Eddie a few months ago, before Christmas, and we had a chat on the phone Eddie said ‘look, I take no shite, but I don’t listen to what people say, I’ll take you on how you are with me’.”
“I had a reputation for being a party boy and it would have been fair back then, not so much though. Work wise, it was always hard [to balance] but with Eddie it’s not because I just love training with him and the lads.”
“The hunger is back, I’m rejuvenated – and I never really believed that when I heard boxers saying it but then it happened to me. I feel rejuvenated, I feel like a new man, I’m doing things in sparring that I haven’t been able to do in a long, long time.”
Hanney now feels he has the pedigree and the preparations to cause an upset on Saturday at the National Stadium in a fight that has the potential to further cement TG4’s love affair with boxing.
The Dubliner described how “this camp, I’m well on weight – I’m ahead of my weight target – I’m training like an animal. I feel like I’m in a proper camp, I’m doing a load of training, busting out eight rounds of sparring no problem – fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, I’m getting stronger as the rounds go on which is a first!”
“As an amateur I was captaining Irish teams all over the world. When I went Down Under I was knocking people out. I had a title fight in my fourth fight, 10 rounder against a tough Philippine fella. I believe people will know about me after this show.”
“It’s going to give me a lot of exposure and the platform to get right back in the mix with a good performance. I really believe that people are going to see what I’m all about on March 30th.”
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).
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)