On a week absolutely loaded with world championship fights, one man’s performance outshined all others. Friday night in Temecula, California, Ghanian IBF lightweight Champion Richard Commey went to war with former world champion Raymond Beltran and walked out with his world title in place and an upcoming mega-bout and payday against all-world blue-chip prospect Teofimo Lopez on the immediate horizon. Commey came up just a little short in his first shot at the IBF 135 pound strap, dropping a controversial decision to Robert Easter back in 2016. Commey dropped Easter and was the rightful winner in the eyes of many, before picking up the belt by demolishing Isa Chaniev earlier this year. Commey was clearly motivated and highly determined to hold on to the belt that eluded him for so long. He just that as well captured out Fighter Of The Week award.
In a scrap, most fight fans knew was going to be a can’t miss, toe-to-toe thriller as soon as it was announced. It certainly did not disappoint. Commey dropped the former champ twice in the opening round nearly scoring an opening round stoppage. However, the rugged Beltran got up off the deck, survived the round and showed he was not about to go down without a fight. Beltran was able to rally and had some big moments. Rocking Comey with left hooks and body shots getting himself back into the fight in rounds three and four. Commey was relentless however and dropped his opponent in the fifth right with a crisp left hook. Again Beltran was able to get to his feet but Commey was in clear control moving forward, rocking Beltran with pin-point left-hooks that Beltran had no answer for at all. Another massive left hook from the Ghanian that landed early in the eighth round sent Beltran to the canvas for a fourth and final time. Beltran was able to beat the count. However, referee Edward Hernandez Sr had seen enough and called a halt to the bout. Giving Commey his first successful title defense.
Commey is certainly on the right side of the promotional street with Top Rank. With this week’s win, he has put himself in a great position to secure lucrative fights in the very near future. A showdown with the unbeaten and highly regarded prospect, Teofimo Lopez is almost certainly going to happen next. Bob Arum confirmed that by saying the fight is next, assuming Lopez beats Masayoshi Nakatani. Teofimo is scheduled to fight the unbeaten Nakatani next month in Maryland. Should Commey defeat the upstart prospect, which is certainly possible if not likely, a unification bout with Vasyl Lomachenko would not only be the next logical step, but it would also be easily made as both fighters are signed with Top Rank as well and would create an undisputed 135-pound king