Richard Commey to defend his newly won IBF lightweight world title, add a potential hand injury into the mix and a WBO, WBA and IBF unification bout against top-five pound-for-pound Vasyl Lomachenko seems in jeopardy.
After Commey’s less than two round destruction of Isa Chaniev by knockout on Saturday night in Texas, Mike Coppinger of The Ring, immediately reported from ringside that Commey might have suffered a hand injury.
I reached out to Commey’s promoter Lou DiBella immediately after the fight regarding the injury. DiBellas said, “Going to get it checked out.
Doesn’t look that bad, but quick turnaround.” Meaning, if Commey has to nurse any hand injury that could sideline him for at least two weeks, maybe even more, giving him ample time for training camp, improbable.
So what does this mean for Lomachenko? Well, initially, Matchroom Boxing was lobbying for the purse bid scheduled on February 6 to move forward for mandatory WBA challenger, Anthony Crolla.
The WBA was inclined to provide Lomachenko with a special exception to face Commey in April, for the purposes of unifying the WBA, WBO and IBF belts. Leaving only Mikey Garcia’s WBC belt left from a true lightweight unification, in which Lomachenko seems to be after.
The April 12 bout between Lomachenko and Commey was ambitious to say the least. Commey would have barely had enough time to enjoy his first world title victory in his second attempt having previously lost a highly contested and controversial split decision loss to Robert Easter in 2016.
According to DiBella, Commey will have his hand looked at today (Tuesday) by his doctor and make a decision based on that prognosis. If the injury were to prevent the Lomanchenko fight from taking place, it could put a Lomachenko vs. Commey unification bout on ice until the summer, depending on what contingency plans are made by Top Rank.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that Top Rank will keep Lomachenko’s April 12 date and look to make a deal with Crolla’s promoter, Matchroom to get Lomachenko’s mandatory out of the way.
After Commey’s destruction of Chaniev, many of the TV analysts during the ESPN broadcast were suggesting that Commey’s style and power could pose problems for Lomachenko. The hard-working lightweight from Ghana is heavy-handed and can end a fight in the split of a second as was on full display against Chaniev, to leave no questions this time around in his quest for the IBF world title.
Whether or not Commey faces Lomachenko remains to be seen. It will all play out this week.