Boxing News of Monday, 4 February 2019
It took Richard Oblitey Commey under four minutes to blow away his challenger, Isa Chaniev, to claim the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight title and make a strong statement to the boxing world last Saturday in the United States.
The Ghanaian learnt useful lessons from his loss three years ago in his maiden world title and completed his comeback story with a class act as he destroyed his Russian opponent with a second round technical knockout victory at the Ford Centre in Frisco, Texas.
Commey seized his moment in a spectacular way and got the world toasting to the demolition act which immediately put him in line for a career-defining unification bout with the dreaded WBA and WBO lightweight champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko. The much-anticipated unification bout is billed for Los Angeles on April 12.
The 31-year-old Commey put up a splendid show by dropping Chaniev three times on his way to become Ghana’s ninth world boxing champion and also landing potentially his biggest payday against Ukrainian Lomachenko.
“I’m very happy that I won this world title,” said Commey, during his post-fight interview. “It’s everything for me; this is what I’ve worked so hard for”.
Despite the prospect of becoming the first Ghanaian boxer to unify any division, Commey was not in the mood to allow his date with Lomachenko, one of the most anticipated clashes of the year, to take away his moment of glory. He said in a post-match interview that he had not thought about facing his Ukrainian opponent but would prefer his managers take up that decision as he basked in his hard-earned moment of glory.
Commey told ringside reporters that he would undergo an X-Ray on his right hand after sustaining a knuckle pop from the punch that flattened Chaniev for a second knockdown.
The title unification fight with Lomachenko was part of the fight contract Commey signed to fight Chaniev.
Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) dropped his Russian foe in the first round with a ferocious right hook after several exchanges. The punch got the Russian opponent wobbling but he managed to beat the bell to save him from further punishment.
Chaniev, who looked dazed upon his return for the second round, could not contain the pressure from Commey who went on the attack until he recorded his second knockdown with a left hook that troubled the Russian southpaw.
Moments later, the Ghanaian finished off the bout in great fashion when he landed combinations that dropped Chaniev to the canvas for the third time, compelling referee Laurence Cole to halt the fight at 39 seconds into the second round to save the Russian who looked hurt and shaken.
Commey added his name to an exclusive class in Ghana’s rich boxing history by joining greats such as David “Poison” Kotei, Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Nana Yaw Konadu, Alfred Kotey, Joshua Clottey, Joseph Agbeko and Isaac Dogboe who at different times held world titles.
His win handed Chaniev (13-2, 6 KOs) his second professional defeat in 15 bouts, with Commey’s two losses in 30 fights coming by controversial split decision losses to Robert Easter Jr and Denis Shafikov, both in 2016.
Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs), on the other hand, is mandated to defend his WBA strap against Briton Anthony Crolla, but the two-time Olympic gold medalist prefers a unification with Commey in a fight slated for Staples Centre in Los Angeles.
After his victory, the boxing world turned its attention to the April 12 showdown.
Lomachenko’s promoter and CEO of Top Rank Promotions, Bob Arum, in a post-fight comment, described Commey as a dangerous fighter but was hopeful the Ukrainian would embrace such a challenger in his next bout.
“That’s one guy who is very, very competitive with Lomachenko. He hits like a mule, he’s a big guy. Lomachenko will embrace this kind of challenge. It’s a challenge fighting a guy who can really hurt you.That’s what he wants,” Arum said.
“Manny Pacquiao was 122 pounds and he went up and he was always smaller than his opponents. He’s much better than Manny Pacquiao. Lomachenko is the best technical fighter I have ever seen,” he added.