Ghana’s Richard Oblitey Commey will be chasing a lifetime career dream at the Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania of the United States of America (USA) tonight in a fate-defining clash against American opponent, Robert Easter Jr.
Commey, a former Commonwealth lightweight champion will mount the ring against the undefeated American for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight title.
The title was vacated by Rances Barthelemy, three days after defending it in order to move up in weight, resulting in an IBF order for the mandatory challenger, Commey to face Easter Jr., the next leading available contender.
“This is a chance I cannot let go. As a nation, we have been crying for a return to those glory days when the names of Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey, Alfred Kotey etc send shivers down the spine of boxers all over the world. Now I am the elected one to return Ghana to that glory past and I must not let anybody down,” Commey told the Times Sports ahead of departure last Thursday.
Indeed, the journey has been tough for the equally undefeated Commey, known as ‘Azonto’ who admits there is no favourite in the clash that will see the better boxer emerge victorious.
Commey’s last seven bouts have seen him travel to the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Denmark, crowning those moment by winning the IBF Inter-continental lightweight title.
He won that strap few months after relinquishing the Commonwealth lightweight title which he defeated South African challenger, Thompson Mokwana to win in the middle of 2015.
Having since seen off two opponents from Germany and Denmark – Kakha Avetisiani and Anzor Gamgebeli – in two successful defenses, Commey comes in as a superior force against Easter who is regarded as a major beneficiary of Barthelemy’s vacation of the title.
That notwithstanding, Easter whose 17 bouts were all staged in the USA is a credible opponent that will provide Commey with the most difficult test.
Reports indicates that Easter is leaving nothing to chance with the fight and has returned to his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, to ready himself for his biggest and first title fight to date.
In addition to his regular workouts in Cincinnati, Easter had trained for his last five fights at D.C.’s Headbangers gym but he spent all of this camp at Toledo’s Glass City Boxing gym under the guidance of his father and trainer, Robert Easter Sr.
“I wanted this camp to be focused completely on me,” Easter said. “It motivates you to be training in the place where you came from. There’s an energy level you draw from the neighborhood, and it’s coming through with the intensity I’ve shown during my workouts.”
The 25-year-old Easter is reported to be in his best shape, taking less than a week to wreck sparring partner Hector Munoz, catching him with a blistering shot up the middle that forced his departure.
Easter got to this stage following a sensational performance in April, when he gained a crushing fifth-round TKO of Algenis Mendez in Washington, D.C., becoming the first man to stop the former 130-pound world champion.
But at 29, Commey is four years Robert’s senior, but both fighters are extremely fresh, and neither have come close to experiencing the pressures that lie at this level of competition.
Easter Jr’s reach advantage will prove a tough obstacle while his speed and power behind his punches would prove huge obstacles for Commey who will need every bit of that sturdy chin to endure the punishment they come with.
Easter Jr enjoys teasing opponents on the front foot, where he is then able to control the range.
And if he is allowed to build a lead in the early rounds, he could settle into a rhythm that will prove too difficult to change.
Much more, Easter jr is sharp and accurate and as a typical American boxer who occasionally fights like Pennell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker, he may indulge in a few ugly acts.
In neutralizing those antics, Commey must set a high tempo from the very start and use hard punches to force Easter Jr. to back, pounce quickly, taking his chance when it comes.
Convinced of how the Ghanaian has prepared for this fight he sees as his moment to shine, Commey would maintain his style of firing at the body before swinging clubbing punches to the head.
Pres, Moys wish Commey well
By William Fiifi Sey
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, has on behalf of the President and people of Ghana extended a message of goodwill to Richard ‘Azonto’ Commey ahead of his IBF lightweight title bout tonight in Pennsylvania, USA.
Commey will fight America’s Robert Easter Jr. in an IBF lightweight championship.
A release from the Youth and Sports Ministry signed by the head of Public Relations, Mr. Otor Plahar, urged the 29-year-old boxing prodigy to stay focused and not under-estimate his opponent, but rather go into the game with a positive mentality.
It said government is fully aware of his exploits, having gone undefeated in 24 fights and urged him to go into the ring with the full assurance that the government and people of Ghana are solidly behind him.
“I know you’ve got what it takes to be a world champion and so go all out to achieve the ultimate. I am very optimistic you can break the jinx by clinching a world title which seemed to have eluded us for some time now.”
The statement wished the technical team of Richard Commey well, and to urged them to ensure that the boxer is well-conditioned and prepared physically, mentally and psychologically ahead of the fight.
It called on Ghanaians to support the boxer with their prayers as he goes into the up-coming IBF lightweight title fight.
Go all out for Ghana
The Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) has urged Ghana’s title contender, Richard Commey to be resolute and remain focused ahead of his championship tonight against America’s Robert Easter Jr.
The two combatants would face off in a crunch IBF lightweight championship at the Santander Arena in the US.
At ringside would be the GBA’s President, Peter Zwennes and one of his deputies, Mr. Rabbon Dodoo to support the boxer.
According to a statement signed by its Communication Director, Naa Darkua Dodoo, the GBA expressed confidence in Commey considering his hard work, commitment and dedication to his career.
“Commey faces, possibly, his biggest test against the American but we are very confident he will emerge victorious and bring the title home,” the statement said.
“The GBA urges you to be resolute, focused, and never take anything for granted. The slightest mistake or any form of complacency can deny you and the entire nation the grand celebration expected”
It said, ‘there is no doubts about your talent and skill but what matters most to Ghanaians is the result. That would to a large extent put pressure on you but being the professional boxer we know, we are hopeful you will keep the flag of Ghana high by walking the path of legends like Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey and others.”
“The GBA wishes you all the best. Go all out and conquer Easter to make Ghana proud.”
By Andrew Nortey