You are here: HomeNews2019 07 01Article 759610

Sports News of Monday, 1 July 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Commey targets Lopez after dispatching Beltran

Ghana's Richard Oblitey Commey, International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight champion, is relishing a fight with Teofimo Lopez in his next title defence as part of his plans to ultimately get a title unification bout.

Lopez, an American, fights Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani in an eliminator on July 19, in a fight the American is highly tipped to win, and Commey is keen to be the first to face him in the ring if he does.

Moments after retaining his title against Mexico’s Raymundo Beltran with an eighth round stoppage last Friday in California, Commey called out for Lopez, describing it as an important step towards a possible unification bout with WBA and WBO titlist, Vasyl Lomachenko.

The 31-year-old Ghanaian made it four consecutive stoppage victories after knocking down Beltran four times en route to an emphatic eighth round knockout win in a bout which announced his readiness to light up the lightweight division.

When asked about a potential showdown with the American Lopez, Commey confidently said, "It looks like Teofimo Lopez is next but he has a job to do first. That will be a great fight.

Lopez, just 21-years, has lighted the lightweight division since turning pro after the 2016 Olympic Games and is considered one of the best prospects in that division, as he is currently rated among the top four.

“Ultimately, my desire is to get a unification against Lomenchenko, however, to get there, a couple of hurdles have to be cleared and a fight against Lopez is one of them. If he wins against Nakatani in their July 19 bout, then we will fix a date for our bout,” Commey explained.

Michael Amoo-Bediako, the manager of the IBF champion, in an interview with the Graphic Sports assured that Commey was ready to face Lopez should he triumph over Nakatani in their eliminator.

Mr Amoo-Bediako said he was hopeful his compatriot would defeat the highly rated American by the end of the year to set up a date with pound for pound king, Lomachenko, early next year.

“At the moment, a Commey-Lopez fight is the talk of the town, given what the two boxers bring to the division. Everyone is rooting for Lopez to win against Nakatani and also against Commey should they face off, but that is a wish,” he said.

Commey (29-2, 26 KOs) headlined a Top Rank card against Beltran (36-9-1, 22 KOs) in his first title defence at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in California, and blew out the former WBO champion to retain his IBF crown in a bout which announced his preparedness to take on the best at 135 pounds.

The Ghanaian troubled Beltran, who came into this fight, slightly overweight, with his power from the start, sending him to the canvas twice in the opening round, again in the fifth and once more in the eighth.

Beltran got to his feet after the fourth knockdown in a bid to continue but referee Edward Hernandez waved off the fight at 54 seconds into the eighth round to hand Commey an emphatic victory over the experienced fighter.

The defeat became Beltran’s second loss in three fights, having failed to make the 135-pound lightweight requirement at last Thursday's weigh-in.

Top Rank’s CEO, Bob Arum, who was at ringside to watch the fight has no doubt a Commey-Lopez fight will, without question, go down.

“That was a great performance by Commey, who showed why he is a great champion. Beltran showed courage and resiliency. Teofimo Lopez has a job to do against Nakatani on July 19, and if he takes care of business, Teofimo will challenge Commey for the title in what will be a tremendous fight,” Arum said.