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Richard Commey will defend lightweight belt against Teofimo Lopez on Dec. 14 at MSG

Richard Commey (left) belts Ray Beltran. Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

Boxing returns to Madison Square Garden’s big room Dec. 14, and that night will feature a Richard Commey lightweight title defense, among other attractions.

The Ghana product will put his IBF strap up for grabs against heralded hitter Teofimo Lopez, the mandatory challenger who enjoyed a stratospheric run up last year, but has contended with a few speed bumps this year. 

Terence Crawford, the WBO welterweight titleholder from Nebraska, will top the holiday season slate put together by Top Rank against Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1, 17 KOs) of Lithuania, promoter Bob Arum confirmed.

Commey (29-2, 26 knockouts), managed by Michael Amoo-Bediako and Keith Connolly, defended his strap in June when he bested Ray Beltran, knocking him down four times before the fight was stopped in round eight. The 32-year-old Commey won the vacant belt in February with a second round stoppage of Isa Chaniev.

Commey took to social media to announce he is settled and ready to clash. Arum, who promotes  Lopez, confirmed to The Ring that Commey vs. Lopez is set in stone, as did Amoo-Bediako.

The African hitter had been waiting for Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) to give the all clear signal that he is ready to rumble. Lopez has admitted he wanted to get his personal/family life settled some, so he could again focus more fully on the fighting life.

The 22-year-old Lopez had looked invulnerable before struggling in a unanimous decision win over the previously unknown Masayoshi Nakatani in his last outing in July.