Fight falls through, but Rafaeles looking forward to exhibition match at Night of the Dragons


HE’S suddenly without an official bout on his hometown card at Bendigo Exhibition Centre on March 17.

But in the greatest of boxing traditions, the show must go on for undefeated flyweight Dino Rafaeles.

Rafaeles was originally scheduled to face Pakpoom Hammarach, but the Thai bantamweight fighter was ruled out of the contest after he failed his medical test.

Instead, the Filipino-born Rafaeles will now face Melbourne-based lightweight Daniel ‘The Hawk’ Huculak in a four-round sanctioned exhibition match.

Dino Rafaeles and Brad Morgan sparring at the Vinton Street Gym

The 26-year-old will be conceding 10kg in weight to the powerfully built Huculak, who is 2-0 in his professional career, but is no way fazed by the test.

“It’s a big advantage for him, but I am just keen to get out there and show my talents,” he said.

“It’s disappointing my fight fell through, I trained hard for it, but that’s boxing.

“I’ll still go out there and give it my all against Danny.”

The exhibition bout will be fought over four three-minute rounds.

Eighteen months into his professional career, Rafaeles sits at 4-0.

All four of his wins, including one by knockout, have come in the Philippines, most recently against debutante Rolly Dorong last September.

Rafaeles admitted he could not have scripted a better start to his pro-career.

“It’s been an exciting few years – I’ve fought some good opponents,” he said.

“I’ve been over to the Philippines four times, which has given me the chance to go back and see my father and family.”

He said the tentative plan was for him to have his next fight in Thailand in a few months’ time.

With his own fight on a massive ‘Night of the Dragons’ card cancelled, Rafaeles predicted big things from his Vinton Street Gym stablemates Brad Morgan, Matt Hall and the debuting Jesse Tuitupou.

“They’ll have a real dip. There will be a few big overseas promoters here, so they’ll be keen to show their talent,” he said.

“It will be an entertaining night and big night for (trainers and promoter) Pat and Gary (Connolly).”

Gary Connolly predicted the Boxing Australia-sanctioned exhibition to steal the show on March 17.

Dino Rafaeles

Dino Rafaeles

“They won’t be following game plans to win, they’ll be out there to showcase their entire skill set,” he said.

“It’s a real opportunity for anyone who is a fan of Dino or Danny, or boxing in general, to see what these guys can really do.

“I can tell you it will be quite spectacular when these guys go to their full set of skills.”

Tickets for March 17 at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre are available for purchase at The Capital box office, or 5434 6100.