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Commey will need to handle the tough Robert Easter to claim his first world title.
Richard Commey has been forced to become a world traveler in his quest to capture a boxing world championship, and the next step on that train will come Friday night at the Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania, on a Premier Boxing Champions card.
Commey began his fighting career in his native Ghana, a nation that has produced seven world champions, including the great Azumah Nelson and Ike “Bazooka” Quartey.
Commey‘s tour already had stops throughout Africa, Europe and the United States, culminating in a tantalizing matchup with highly rated prospect Robert Easter Jr. for the vacant IBF Lightweight Championship.
The 29-year-old is still an unknown quantity of the United States. This is just his second fight stateside, but he believes he has the skills necessary to make a statement and join the legendary Ghanaian fighters who have captured world titles.
“No matter what he does, I can win,” Commey said during an international media conference call to promote the fight. “I’m strong. And I can take punches and I can punch as well.
“If he [Easter] can’t, he will lose.”
Commey will enter the ring as the underdog.
That’s mostly a function of the fact that many fans simply don’t know too much about him.
We do know that he’s a powerful puncher, or at least his record indicates that (24-0).
You develop that type of reputation when you send 22 of your 24 foes home inside the distance, but the level of opposition gives some pause about whether or not he’ll be able to do the same against a fighter with the size and skill of Easter.
Easter is freakishly big for a lightweight.
He carries a six-foot frame, and that’s a lot to handle.
“Well, of course. I spar a lot of big guys like Joshua Clottey, and I have the kind of power to excel in the gym and on fight night,” Commey said about his foe’s physical advantages.
“I want to follow the tradition of Ghanaian boxing. So, I’m coming there to make sure, once I get my game plan underway, then I’ll be victorious.”
Commey is a fighter known for aggression. He likes to come forward and press the action. The idea is to up the physical and mental ante on his opponent and force them to contend with a guy who swarms with powerful punches coming from different angles.
He throws punches in bunches, so his style is certainly one that could catch fire with fight fans if he’s able to execute it with some success in the biggest spot of his career.
That certainly places him right in line with the finer points of Ghanaian boxing tradition.
The West African nation is known for producing exciting fighters. It’s capital city of Accra, in particular, is a hotbed for the sport.
Commey began his career fighting in small venues in the bustling city, and he’s been advised by Nelson ahead of his first crack at a world title.
You can hardly find a better role model than a multi-time world champ who threw down with the best of his era to become a Hall of Famer and the greatest fighter your nation has ever produced.
Nelson’s attention and mystique give Commey both inspiration and something to shoot for. He’s looking to break a five-year drought for Ghana and become the nation’s first world champion since Joseph Agbeko dropped his bantamweight belt to Abner Mares in 2011.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I want to do,” Commey said.
“The likes of Ike Quartey, Azumah Nelson, to bring a championship back to my country.”
Commey understands his burden. This opportunity has been a long time coming for him.
He’s had to log tons of frequent flyer miles and fight—often well off the radar of even the hardest core boxing fans—in all sorts of obscurity to earn this chance.
That’s not an experience you soon forget. You understand that chances are few and far between.
Some never get one, much less two, so you’d better bring all you’ve got to the party and see if you can’t make the most of it.
“I’ve inspired a lot of people with a lot of heart,” Commey said. “I need this opportunity. I’m coming there to win and that’s what I’m coming to do.”
All quotes were obtained firsthand.