Next Wednesday evening on the undercard of Danny Green’s IBO Cruiserweight Title defence against American Antonio Tarver from the Sydney Entertainment Centre, will be a battle between 2 top 15 rated welterweights. Perth-based, Tunisian-born 2 time IBF World Title challenger Naoufel “Chocolata” Ben Rabah faces former IBF & IBO Welterweight World Champion, South African Isaac “The Angel” Hlatshwayo for the vacant IBF Australasian Welterweight Title over 12 rounds.
Ben Rabah who is ranked IBF#15 WBC#26 boasts an intimidating record of 33 wins with 17 of these inside the distance, and just 3 defeats. Hlatshwayo who is ranked IBF#8 also has an outstanding record consisting of 30 wins with 10 inside the distance, only 2 defeats and 1 draw.
Ben Rabah has been in some outstanding contests since turning professional in early 2001. He has held numerous Australian & regional title belts. Ben Rabah boasts wins early in his professional career against former Australian Titlists Fred Kinuthia, John Cotterill Jr. & current world rated Lightweight Ranee Ganoy. Ben Rabah’s most controversial bout came when he fought for the vacant IBF Light Welterweight in 2006 against undefeated Colombian Juan Urango in Florida, USA. Ben Rabah dominated the matchup, but lost a controversial close decision which was labelled “a disgrace” by respected commentator Teddy Atlas who was calling the bout from ringside for US cable network ESPN.
Ben Rabah was also involved in 1 of the most entertaining domestic matchups seen in years when he battled Lovemore N’Dou in 2007, again for the vacant IBF Light Welterweight Title, & again Ben Rabah just came up short. Since 2007 Ben Rabah has looked impressive, rattling off a 9 match winning streak including a dominant shutout victory against world rated Solomon Egberime in 2010.
Hlatshwayo has travelled the globe since turning professional in 2000. He first claimed the IBO Lightweight Title in 2005 with a dominant 12 round decision against former IBF World Champion Cassius Baloyi in his homeland of South Africa, and then defended the IBO title 2 more times including an outstanding win in the US over former Unified Lightweight Champ, American Nate Campbell before moving up in weight.
Hlatshwayo is known to the Australian boxing public for his 2 fights in Australia in 2007 & 2008 against world rated Aussie Robert Medley. Hlatshwayo dominated Medley in both bouts, which were for the IBO Welterweight Title. In the 1st bout Medley got knocked down, but survived the 12 round distance, however in the 2nd bout Medley was stopped by Hlatshwayo in the 10th round. Hlatshwayo has since been back to the US & won the vacant IBF Welterweight Title against Delvin Rodriguez in late 2009, however Hlatshwayo then lost his belt in his first IBF Welterweight Title defence to now current champ Slovenian Jan Zaveck.
Both Ben Rabah and Hlatshwayo are highly rated with the IBF, with the winner of this bout receiving a near top 5 rating with the IBF and therefore being in the box seat for a shot at the IBF Welterweight Title. Current IBF Welterweight Champion Jan Zaveck is currently scheduled to face top American Welterweight Andre Berto in the US on September 3.
Ben Rabah vs. Hlatshwayo can be seen live on Main Event PPV & Fox Sports Pubs & Clubs from 7pm EST/5pm WST Wednesday July 20th.