Commey to defend IBF lightweight title in June

International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight champion, Richard Commey, has commenced preparation for a possible return on June 28 with a voluntary defence of his title.

Commey,32; managed by Michael Amoo-Bediako, promoted by Lou DiBella, and trained by Andre Rozier, was seen at the Madison Square Garden on Saturday, to see at first hand possible opponents for his voluntary defence.

The IBF lightweight champion was billed for a showdown with the holder of the WBO and WBA versions of the title, Vasily Lomanchenko but a knuckle injury sustained in his title winning fight demanded a suspension of that arrangement.

His manager, Amoo-Bediako told badlefthook.com that although an opponent has not been found yet for Commey, the team was holding discussion with the boxer’s promoters Lou DiBella as well as Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.

However, he hinted that they have eyes on a seventh to 10th ranked boxer to test his readiness for a mandatory fight.

“Richard wanted a voluntary to test that hand, make sure it’s functioning well. He will fight a voluntary in June. Let’s see how the landscape opens up and changes.”

Ahead of that, Team Commey, according to Amoo-Bediako has identified a few fighters, notably Edis Tatli, Teofimo Lopez, Bryan Vasquez and Felix Verdejo who have all been calling for shots.

Edis Tatli fought Teofimo Lopez, who I’ve followed for about three years, we tried to get him for Commey three years ago, couldn’t get him. I don’t think he’s fought once outside Finland. His level of opposition has not really been top level, but where Teofimo is, that’s the right kind of opponent for him,” he told the boxing website.

 “We saw (Bryan) Vasquez and (Felix) Verdejo, and Verdejo getting pushed back by a super featherweight. The spark didn’t seem to me to be there. Maybe he lost a step? It’s hard for him at the moment, he’s treading water, he’s not really exciting, I don’t know what it is, maybe going up in weight. He’s not really doing it right now. Felix had the loss, then two wins, but he’s not really set the world on fire.”

Team Commey is also observing Mikey Garcia closely and what will happen with his WBC 135 belt having declared an intention to vacate and move to 140.

That comes with the prospects for Commey to vie for it against some of the big names in the division including Luke Campbell who is WBC No. 1, Lomachenko, Masayoshi Nakatani and even Robert Easter Jr and his Saturday opponent, Rances Barthelemy.

But before taking any major decision, Amoo-Bediako indicated that they will focus on the voluntary and the opponent who we will know after talks with Lou DiBella and Top Rank this week.

“For the next fight, we don’t really know. It’s possible June 28, I think from Top Rank, that’s all I know. Commey is excited to fight one day at Madison Square Garden, he hopes one day to top the bill there.”

BY ANDREW NORTEY

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