FEATURE: Another day of destiny for Commey!

BY: Bernard Neequaye

On Saturday, Richard Commey will have a second chance at relaunching his career against Jackson Marinez in Las Vegas. An opportunity he must take.

The first chance was in 2018 when he stopped Alejandro Luna in six rounds. That victory earned him a second shot at the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight belt which he subsequently beat Isa Chaniev to win in 2019.

Before fighting Luna, the former IBF lightweight champion had lost consecutively to Robert Easter Jnr and Denis Shafikov. These two defeats stalled Commey’s career and destroyed his chances of becoming a world champion.

Commey, however, managed to come back stronger with a win on his return to the ring against Hedi Slimani and that paved the way for him to fight Luna in an eliminator for the IBF crown.

He has that same circumstance on Saturday but this time around, he is more mature and experienced in the ring. It must show on Saturday when he mounts the ring to fight for the first time in over a year.

“This is another opportunity for me to come back into the division and only a win can secure that,” Commey told the Graphic Sports.

“I have been here before and I know what it takes to relaunch one’s career. The only thing I think about is a victory on Saturday and I know I will achieve that.

“I have been here many times before and the pressure is always the same, but once the bell goes I am just focused on the man in front of me and there is no time to be thinking about pressure,” he added.

Long lay-off

Commey had to be out of the ring for over a year since losing to Teofimo Lopez in December 2019. That long lay-off was due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020.

Whilst he was on vacation back home in Ghana, the coronavirus outbreak led to a halt on all sporting activities in the country. The worst of the measures taken by the government was a ban on travels and that prevented Commey from returning to his New York base.

However, government eased restrictions in the country and Commey managed to fly back to New York in August 2020 after eight months in Ghana.

But despite the delay in his ring return, Commey believes the long lay-off offered him an opportunity to strategise and re-evaluate himself before coming back.

Commey does not anticipate ring rust against Marinez despite being inactive for over a year. He thinks the much-anticipated return will be a memorable one.

“I don’t anticipate any ring rust against Marinez as sometimes you need a long lay-off to re-evaluate your position.

“It also helps you rest your mind and body so that when you return you are fully focused. That will definitely pay off against Martinez on Saturday,” Commey said.

Training camp

Commey has been training for the past six months and getting himself conditioned ahead of what looks to be a thrilling encounter. In 32 professional bouts, he possesses an impressive 29 victories with three defeats.

On the other hand, Marinez, a well-composed fighter from the Dominican Republic, will be a hard nut to crack with 19 wins  and a defeat in 20 bouts.

Marinez’s last defeat was his previous fight with Rolando Romero in which many felt he was cheated in favour of the American boxer.

“I have been training hard of course and getting myself physically and mentally prepared for this fight,” he said. “Preparation has gone very well; I have trained really hard and had some excellent sparring.”

Meanwhile, there have been concerns over Commey finding it difficult to make the required 135 pounds lightweight limit but the Ghanaian doesn’t want to think about moving up now.

He wants to focus on winning against Marinez before deciding on what next to do.

“I don’t find it difficult making the lightweight division. I have to focus on my next fight and not look past this one, and then after I get the victory I will sit down with my team to see what next to do,” he said.