The Assassin Boxing prospect emerged victorious from a highly-entertaining eight-round contest to claim his first professional title and cement himself as one to watch out for on the’ Celtic Clash 6′ card at Good Counsel GAA Club.
The points win was the Moldovan Dub’s second successive all-Ireland victory and shortly after he paid tribute the warrior like performance of Kelly, the St Michael’s Inchicore puncher claimed he was more than open to a Quinn defence.
Quinn has expressed his upset that Kelly had got the invite to fight Rabei [5(1)-0] for the vacant strap ahead of him when the fight was first announced, but seems like he may just get his chance to trade leather with Rabei for the belt before the year is out.
“Why not Martin Quinn? People have been talking about that fight and Martin is a good goer,” Rabei told Irish-Boxing.com following his close-but-clear points win.
“That one would be a calculated risk – Martin is bigger than Karl so there is that element of something different a different challenge. I would like that fight. Maybe not next, I think the team want another six rounder and then look at Martin in October-November time, whenever there is a show around that date.”
While the Steven O’Rourke-trained fighter was happy to look forward he was happier to reflect on the eight rounds that played out just before.
24-year-old Slick Vic outpointed the relentless Kelly and, while he was happy to compliment his own performance, he reserved most of his praise for his opponent.
“I have to give it to Karl, he is a tremendous fighter, he gave it everything and he went at me for eight rounds. More credit to him he brought what he promised me and I have to hand it to him.”
“I threw massive right hands and they landed clean, fair play to him he shook them off and kept coming. I knew then I might have to do the eight rounds and do them with him coming forward,” he added before stressing he was happy with how he dealt with his first eight rounder.
“I feel great. I am happy with the performance and I went eight rounds and at a fast pace. Obviously it’s a big jump from four to eight so in the sixth and seventh my legs were getting a bit heavy. It was a bit new to me.”
“I think I boxed well, I think my footwork was brilliant, I was landing good right hands, the jab was working perfect.”
Rabei was a deserved winner, but there was no doubt Kelly pushed him all the way and in a entertaining fight with both fighters eating big shots. The newly crowned champion took one massive left hook in the first and two clean haymakers in the third, but claims they didn’t perturb him too much.
“I took a big left hook in the first. No one is happy to get caught with a shot, but Steve and I were saying we should see what he has early on. He threw a big haymaker and it landed, I took it and it didn’t trouble me. If he landed four or five one after the other he may have got me down but I wasn’t going to allow that to happen.”
The entertaining nature of the fight wasn’t lost on the victor. The emerging novice rejoiced in the more intimate atmosphere found in the small hall and seemed to enjoy it as much as the watching crowd did.
“The crowd was unbelievable. Good Counsel is a great place to fight. As soon as you get into it you feel the crowd on top of you and behind you. It was brilliant and it was a fight. I was enjoying myself in there and I think Karl was too.”
“At times we were talking to each other. I was asking him where the power was and he was calling me a Moldovan you-know-what, but it was fun. It was a fun fight and an entertaining one for the fans. I learnt more and went eight rounds.”
With back-to-back all Irish wins to his name the Rathmichael man has developed a bit of a prospect reputation but is adamant that learning is more important than level-jumping at the present moment.
“I need to learn,” he admits. “I definitely need more time to learn. I am not going to say I am the best in the country or this and that. I am a novice pro I still have loads to learn.”
“That was just my fifth fight, you won’t hear me saying I am better than Phil Sutcliffe, better than Tyrone [McKenna], better than Gary Cully and these boys. We are all in the same game, but I have to take it step by step. It was a good eight rounds and a good learning curve.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)