MOROCCAN amateur boxing sensation Mohammed Rabii will make his long anticipated professional debut February 18, fighting at home in Casablanca, at the Complexe de Sportif Mohammed V Arena.
The 23-year-old Rabii represented Morocco at this year’s Olympic Games in Brazil, where he captured a bronze medal in the welterweight division, losing a disputed decision (0-3) in the semifinals to Uzbek boxer Shakhram Giyasov, who then lost (0-3) in the championship final to Daniyar Yeleussinov. Rabii had defeated Yeleussinov, of Kazakhstan, in the gold-medal championship bout of the AIBA World amateur championships. An average of 6 million Moroccans viewed each of Rabbi’s Olympic matches, providing testimony to his celebrity status back home.
A gifted orthodox fighter, Rabii was the past World Series of Boxing Fighter of the Year, who signed an exclusive, multi-year managerial contract last October with Nowhere2Hyde Management, which is owned and operated by international manager Gary Hyde, of Cork, Ireland.
“We are delighted to have signed one of the best amateur boxers in the world,” Hyde said. “Mohammed has a great style with knockout power in both hands. He will kick-star his pro career in front of his adoring fans in Casablanca February 18. He is a national hero, so, the plan is to take full advantage by building him up at home in Morocco.”
Two other boxers managed by Hyde, former World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight Simpiwe Vetyeka and middleweight Gevorg Khatchikian, will fight in the main event and co-feature, respectively, against opponents to be determined.
Vetyeka (29-3, 17 KOs), fighting out of South Africa, is currently ranked No. 4 by the WBA. The only two pro losses for Khatchikian (24-2, 12 KOs), a Netherlander, have been to present super middleweight world champions James Degale (IBF) and Gilberto Ramirez (WBO).