Moroccan amateur star Mohammed Rabii makes pro debut on Feb. 18
Moroccan amateur star Mohammed Rabii will make his highly-anticipated pro debut on Feb. 18, manager Gary Hyde announced Wednesday morning.
Rabii will fight in a six-round bout against an opponent to be determined at the Complexe de Sportif Mohammed V in his hometown of Casablanca.
The 23-year-old amateur standout, who competed in the World Series of Boxing, won the gold medal at the 2015 AIBA World Amateur Championships, defeating Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan. Rabii also won the welterweight bronze medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, losing to Shakhram Giyasov of Uzbekistan in the semi-final. (Giyasov would eventually lose to Yeleussinov in the gold medal match.)
Rabii’s popularity during the Olympics was evident as an average of six million people in Morocco watched on television every time he fought.
“We are delighted to have sign one of the best amateur boxers in the world,” said Hyde in a release. “Mohammed has a great style with knockout power in both hands. He will kick-start his pro career in front of his adoring fans in Casablanca Feb. 18.”
“He is a national hero, so the plan is to take full advantage by building him up at home in Morocco.”
In the main event, featherweight contender Simpiwe Vetyeka of South Africa will fight in a 10 round bout. Vetyeka (29-3, 17 KOs) has won his last three bouts since his technical decision loss to Nonito Donaire in May of 2014.
Super middleweight contender Gevorg Khatchikian (24-2, 12 KOs) will also fight in a 10 round bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing