Behind The Tale Of The Tape: How Vasiliy Lomachenko, Richard Commey Are Seeking Redemption
On Saturday, December 11, two former champions will meet in the famous Madison Square Garden Arena for a lightweight bout.
Former unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko will make his comeback fight against former IBF titlist Richard Commey.
Both fighters lost their belts to Teofimo Lopez with Lomachenko losing three of his titles to the Honduran in October of 2020 by unanimous decision.
Prior to the loss, Lomachenko was arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, according to boxing authorities.
Commey is a powerful puncher just coming off a knockout win against Jackson Marine.
Both men sit high in most sanctioning bodies’ rankings; a victory here could propel the winner into mandatory challenger status for the lightweight championship.
Two fighters battling it out for a second chance to reclaim a title belt should lead to a great matchup. Let’s see how both fighters got here.
Commey was born in Accra, Ghana. Accra is the capital and also the largest city in Ghana.
The city serves as one of the country’s leading forces in economic progress, but still has a high unemployment rate and a population greatly affected by economic inequality.
Commey and his mother, Joyce Florence, were one of the citizens living below the poverty line.
Financially the duo struggled.
His mother used to trade perishable items in the market as a source of income, but that could barely cover the necessities. With no father around for another income, Commey couldn’t afford to go to school or receive an education.
But what his mom could not afford financially was made up in the wisdom and example she gave her son. Commey credits his mother for teaching him the importance of work ethic, humility and patience.
Those qualities along with his natural talent propelled him to become Ghana’s top kickboxer.
After competing worldwide in kickboxing, Commey was encouraged to take up boxing. He started training in Lawrence Carl Loko’s Bronx Boxing Club where he eventually met future manager Michael Amoo-Bediako helped him turn professional in 2011.
The 34-year-old boxer started his career by winning his first 24 fights, 21 by knockout.
He won the WBF International Silver Lightweight title by beating Hedi Slimani in 12 rounds. He won the IBF lightweight title by beating Isa Chaniev by TKO. He would later lose his title to Lopez by TKO in Madison Square Garden.
His record currently stands at 30-3 with 27 KOs.
Lomachenko was born in Ukraine. His father, Anatoly, coached him from a very young age. He reportedly had his first fight at six-years-old at an international tournament.
In 2007, the southpaw fighter took home silver at the world championships in Chicago. He would take that momentum into the 2008 Olympic games, winning gold in Beijing beating his fellow featherweight opponents by a 45 point margin. His dominance led him to be awarded the Val Barker trophy. The trophy is given to the outstanding boxer of the tournament.
In 2009, he won the gold at the world championship he would later move up to the lightweight division for the 2011 World Championships and won a consecutive gold medal to become a two-weight champion.
He would accomplish this feat at the 2012 Olympics London winning gold in the lightweight division becoming a two-weight champion at the Olympic level.
He would finish his amateur career with an astonishing 396-1 record. He is widely regarded as having one of — if the not the greatest — amateur boxing career of all time.
Lomachenko’s professional career started out strong.
After a decision defeat to Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title, he got a chance at redemption in his next fight, beating Gary Russel Jr for the title. The fight was also his third professional bout, making him the fastest, along with Saensak Muangsurin, to win a world title.
He has also showcased his versatility in becoming the WBA, WBO and The Ring lightweight titles. He would lose all three after an upset by Lopez in their bout for the IBF lightweight title.
The 33-year-old recently beat Masayoshi Nakatani to extend his record to 15-2. Eleven of his wins by KO.
Coming into this fight, Lomachenko is the odds favorite.
Against their common opponent Lopez, Commey lost by knockout while Lomachenko lost by decision. Now that may be a limited evaluation, but it can be an indication of a fighter’s ability.
Both fighters are in their early to mid-thirties, but Lomachenko does have more wear and tear due to the workload he had in his amateur career. Commey is a good standard fighter with a six-inch reach advantage, who’s hungry for a big win. He has utilized that reach in the past with strong snappy punches.
But is that enough to defeat Lomachenko?
Workload aside, Lomachenko presents a myriad of skills; His hand speed, timing, defense and offensive creativity may just be too much for Commey who has demonstrated himself to be a respectable fighter, but otherwise not a special one.
You can watch the Lomachenko vs Commey fight on December 12 on FIGHT SPORTS Max. Restrictions apply to specific countries. It will also air on December 11 in the U.S. on ESPN/ESPN+.