Rabchenko to face Vitu in mandatory European title defense


Undefeated junior middleweight contender Sergey Rabchenko will make the first defence of his European title against Frenchman Cedric Vitu, with the date and venue still to be confirmed.

Vitu (35-1, 15 knockouts) is EBU mandatory challenger and should present a decent examination of Belarusian Rabchenko’s credentials to mix it higher up the 154-pound ladder. The Gallic challenger is on a four-year, 17-fight winning streak.

Rabchenko (21-0, 16 KOs), who is trained and promoted by Ricky ‘the Hitman’ Hatton and spends much of his time in Manchester, Eng., maintained his perfect record in June by stopping veteran Englishman Ryan Rhodes in the seventh round. According to manager Philippe Fondu, the 26-year-old from Minsk is expecting a considerably tougher evening with Vitu, 27.

“This will be an excellent contest between two very good boxers,” said Fondu, who is also Hatton Promotions European representative. “Vitu is a credible challenger and will give Rabchenko an even bigger test than Ryan Rhodes, whom he beat to win the EBU title.

“Like Rhodes, Vitu is also a southpaw, so fighting another leftie will not be a problem for Rabchenko.”