Richard Commey: ‘Isa Chaniev is a good boxer, but I do feel that I will be victorious’
Long-time lightweight contender Richard Commey will face Isa Chaniev for the vacant IBF title as chief support to the Eleider Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight rematch at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday.
Commey, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring at 135 pounds, fought for this very title in September 2016, dropping a razor-thin split decision to Robert Easter Jr. Then, just three months later, in an effort to force an Easter rematch, Commey came out on the wrong end of another split decision loss to Denis Shafakov in Russia.
Since that time, the 31-year-old Ghanaian has posted three wins and relocated to America. Having worked so hard for so long, he is determined to win the big one.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to have a second chance at winning the world title,” Commey (27-2, 24 knockouts) told The Ring.
“Chaniev is a good boxer from what I’ve seen. I don’t want to say too much as I want to be able to exploit areas that I feel he is weak in, but he’s a good boxer. I’m going to have to bring my A-game to fight night. He’s worked his way into position, like myself, so I have to respect him, but I do feel that I will be victorious come February 2nd. Words cannot express what it would mean.”
Chaniev, 26, turned professional five years ago and this is his first world title fight. He hails from Nazran, Russia, over 1700 kilometers south of Moscow. The once-beaten Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs) is riding a three-fight win streak, including a hard-fought points win over power-puncher Ismael Barroso last May.
Commey has had to be mentally strong and not let previous disappointments hold him back.
“I feel like I won both fights [that he officially lost] so I class myself as undefeated and a champion and my team believe that also,” Commey said confidently.
“Mentally I wanted to improve anyway, so I made the decision to relocate to the U.S. and start training with Andre Rozier which has given me a new lease of life. This time around you will see a much-improved Richard Commey.”
Commey’s manager, Michael Amoo-Bediako, believes his fighter has long been kept in the shadows of the lightweight scene because of his talent.
“He has been avoided and only got opportunities when we managed to get him into a mandatory position,” said Amoo-Bediako. “He was Commonwealth champion for some time but unable to get any meaningful defenses when he was based in the U.K. with me. He had to vacate that title.
“He never got to defend his IBF Intercontinental title either, so this opportunity means a lot to Team Commey and shows the hard work put in by all in the team: me, Lou DiBella, Andre Rozier and, of course, Richard himself.”
A Commey victory would see him become Ghana’s ninth world champion behind the likes of Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey and, more recently, Isaac Dogboe. The kind-hearted fighter also wants to help others less fortunate.
“Most, if not all [of the fighters who became world champions from Ghana], have come from my area which is Bukom [small coastal town just outside of Accra],” Commey said.
“I am the global ambassador for my manager Michael Amoo-Bediako’s Streetwise Foundation. For me to win this world title and join that list will give the foundation a bigger voice to help budding boxers have the opportunities I have had, hopefully, add to the very special list.”
Amoo-Bediako, who has guided Commey from the beginning of his career, isn’t looking past Chaniev to a mooted fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko.
“I know the opportunities I may have to negotiate certain fights for Richard once he becomes a world champion and they do not just include Lomachenko,” said the venerable manager. “The lightweight division is stacked right now so I’m sure once Richard is world champion the phone will start ringing with plenty of offers, but first its Chaniev.”
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