Richard Commey to defend IBF title against Ray Beltran on June 28
Richard Commey will defend his IBF lightweight title against Ray Beltran on June 28, Top Rank officially announced on Thursday afternoon.
The 12-round bout will take place at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California. The Top Rank card will also feature a 10-round bout between junior middleweight contenders Carlos Adames and Patrick Day.
Both fights will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT).
Commey (28-2, 25 knockouts) will be making the first defense of his title against Beltran. Commey, who resides in Accra, Ghana, won the vacant IBF title on February 2 by stopping Russia’s Isa Chaniev within two rounds.
Commey was originally scheduled to face The Ring Magazine/WBA/WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko on April 12 but Commey hurt his right knuckle during the Chaniev fight and had to withdraw from the tentative unification. Lomachenko ultimately faced WBA mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla, knocking him out in round four.
The 32-year-old Commey’s most notable bouts occurred in 2016, when he lost back-to-back split decisions to Robert Easter Jr., who won the vacant IBF title in that fight, and Denis Shafikov. Both fights were very close but many boxing scribes thought Commey did enough to win both bouts.
“I’m honored to be headlining an ESPN show as a world champion and to be fighting former world champion Ray Beltran, whom I have the utmost respect for,” said Commey, who is promoted by Lou DiBella. “This is an opportunity for me to show the American public that I’m here to become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. The path is set and come June 28, I’ll be ready to rock ’n’ roll.”
Beltran (36-8-1, 22 KOs), who is originally from the boxing hotbed of Los Mochis, Mexico, and now resides in Phoenix, Arizona, knocked out Hiroki Okada in the ninth round of his most recent bout on February 9.
In his previous fight on August 25, the 37-year-old Beltran lost a unanimous decision to Jose Pedraza, also losing his WBO lightweight title in the process.
Beltran is an all-action fighter who comes forward and makes for good fights. His fight against Commey could be his final attempt at winning a major title but Beltran is confident that he can overcome the odds and defeat Commey.
“I’m excited about this fight with Richard Commey,” said Beltran, who is managed by Steven Feder. “I’ve been the WBO champion and I intend to be the IBF champion on June 28. I expect a tough fight but that’s the kind of fight I like. We are both very experienced, so it will come down to who is willing to lay his heart on the line that night.
“After losing my title to Jose Pedraza, I think some people thought I was done but I always come back and prove that I belong. I’m excited to announce that Freddie Roach is back in my corner after all these years. When I was working with Manny Pacquiao, I saw what Freddie can do, both in camp and in the corner. I’m grateful to Top Rank and ESPN for having me back. The only thing I want for my birthday (July 23) is the IBF world title.”
Adames (17-0, 14 KOs), who is originally from the Dominican Republic and now resides in the New York City area, scored an impressive fourth round technical knockout victory over Frank Galarza on April 20. He is trained by Robert Garcia.
Day (17-2-1, 6 KOs) also fought on February 2, defeating previously unbeaten Ismail Iliev by unanimous decision. Day also resides in the New York City area and is promoted by Lou DiBella.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.
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