By Kieran Breen
Newly crowned lightweight world champion, Richard Commey (28-2-0) enjoyed a hero’s welcome home as he returned to his native Ghana this week, with crowds gathering to watch him parade his IBF strap through the streets.
The 31-year-old captured the world title in sensational style, stopping his opponent, Isa Chaniev (13-2-0) in the second round of their clash at The Ford Centre in Texas, putting Chaniev down in both rounds before the referee brought a halt to proceedings.
He said: “I always prepare hard for any fight but I supposed we cranked it up because this was my first world title fight with my new trainer and we wanted to make a statement.”
For Commey, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing in the world of professional boxing. The former Commonwealth champion failed in his first attempt to capture world honours, as he found himself on the wrong end of a split decision against Robert Easter Jr, with many labelling the outcome as controversial.
After suffering the second loss of his career against Denis Shafikov, the Ghanaian managed to string together three solid wins to put himself in line for another world title shot, which he grabbed with both hands.
And he firmly believes that finding someone to guide his career was a pivotal part of his success.
He explained: “It was important for me to find a manager and I found the best manager in the world.
“No, in fact, he found me.
“Michael Ammo-Bediako walked into my gym back in August 2010 when I was all but an amateur boxer.
“But he took me under his wing, turned me professional and we have been together ever since.”
Now, there are many people calling for a unification clash with pound-for-pound star, Vasiliy Lomachenko, but Commey explained that this fight won’t happen anytime soon.
He told us: “Unfortunately, I got injured in the Chaniev fight so my proposed fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko is off.
“I am going to rest my hand like the doctors ordered, enjoy my belt back home in Ghana and see what my team comes up with next.”
(It was recently announced that Lomachenko will now face mandatory challenger Anthony Crolla, with the pair set to clash in April in Los Angeles.)
Richard Commey will seem familiar to British boxing fans and they may remember him making several appearances at the infamous York Hall in Bethnal Green.
He also defeated Gary Buckland at the same venue in 2014, capturing the Commonwealth lightweight title.
But Commey says he would not entertain the idea of a return to the UK and believes any defences of his world title should be kept overseas.
“The UK wasn’t kind to me apart from Steve Goodwin.
“I never really got the chance to showcase my skills there on the highest stage and I feel at the time I was avoided.
“Also, certain people (in my eyes) didn’t work hard enough to get me the opportunities I felt worthy of so if the truth be told, I’d rather defend my title in the States where I have been welcomed with open arms.”
With many people wondering what the next move will be for the IBF champion, he was not willing to give any names of potential future opponents.
He stated: “Let them call me out!
“I am the champion now and if they want what I have then they know where to find me.”