Subject to sanctioning, the BUI Celtic champion will look to upgrade to the Irish title versus Jake Hanney in the chief support bout of the TG4 ‘Clash of the Clans’ bill at the National Stadium on Saturday March 30th.
While Hanney [5(4)-1(1)] has been out for two years, he comes to the ring with good backing, renewed focus, and undeniable talent.
It’s a “calculated risk”, claims Rabei [6(2)-0] but an increasing amount of observers believe there has been a miscalculation.
The Dubliner, though, knows that a win in a high-profile TV fight could act as a massive career catapult and he envisions himself taking the same sort of steps as Assassin stablemate Dylan Moran.
Talking to Irish-Boxing.com, Rabei explained how, “for me, if I was to defend my Celtic title, there’s more to lose than to win. Whereas, right now, if I’m fighting for an Irish title, there’s a lot to lose but it’s also a lot to win.”
“It’s Top 15 in Europe, you’re built for bigger fights, you’re sparring in the UK, you can go over to the States for fights, get more tough fights, and before you know it you could be in contention for the European title.”
“As a professional boxer, they’re the steps you want to take.”
“This is my third all-Irish clash, I’ve fought for the Celtic title, I’m fighting for the Irish title now, I think they’re the proper steps to take as a pro fighter.”
Waterford welter Moran has signed with U.S. promotional outfit Star Boxing and looks set to feature on Matchroom shows soon.
While he is wary of looking past ‘The Wizard’ Hanney, Rabei believes he could also go down this path.
The Rathmichael starlet outlined how “I want to focus on Jake but the options are there, you can see that through Dylan and what they’ve done. The plan that’s there for Dylan is great and once I get into the same sort of market I think I’ll be there as well.”
“Work hard, put all the work in in the gym, on the night perform, get the Irish title, and then I think those options will be there for me too.”
This is all way too far in the future for Rabei to even consider, though, with many viewing the left-field Hanney fight as near pick’em.
“I think it’s a very tasty fight,” he happily admits.
“This is my biggest bout to date. I don’t want to say it came out of nowhere – but there was a lot of back-and-forth with Niall O’Connor which didn’t go through for whatever their reasons were. That [O’Connor] fight was just meant to be me defending my title, and we were annoyed with what they wanted, that got finished, and then this popped up.”
Rabei feels it’s a tougher fight than the long talked-about encounter with Ballybrack’s O’Connor.
“Absolutely, he [Hanney] bigger, he’s coming down, he’ll just about make 63.5kg. He’s fought up at heavier weights and he hits harder.”
“He has nothing to lose, which is very dangerous. He has a bang – you could in ten rounds and then be put on your ass and be done”
“It’s dangerous, the aspect of danger is there.”
Rabei though feels he has an advantage over Hanney, having done a tough eight with Karl Kelly last summer.
He describes how “I made some mistakes in the Karl Kelly fight, maybe I was putting too much into it at certain times but it was good experience to bring into this Irish title fight.”
“I don’t think Jake has gone past six, it’s going to be deeper waters for him whereas I’m experienced there.”
“I fancy my chances in this, I think I’ll win it and I’ll take it but, again, I’ll give him the utmost respect. Hopefully his camp goes well, my camp goes well, and we both show up on the night and perform.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)