Hello and welcome to New York for tonight’s lightweight fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Richard Commey. We’re ringside at Madison Square Garden as Lomachenko, the two-time Olympic gold medalist three-weight champion from Ukraine who for years had been widely regarded as boxing’s pound-for-pound No 1, looks to fight his way back into the lightweight championship picture after last year’s unanimous-decision defeat at the hands of Teófimo López.
López, of course, lost the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles he captured from Lomachenko in a major upset to Australia’s George Kambosos Jr last month. Top Rank supremo Bob Arum, who promotes the 33-year-old Ukrainian star, believes a victory tonight over the hard-hitting Commey will position Lomachenko as a mandatory challenger for Kambosos next year.
Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs), who rebounded from the López setback with a sixth-round stoppage of Jackson Martinez in February, said he was happy, healthy and ready to get back in line at Thursday’s final press conference. “I’m very excited because this is the next step of my boxing career,” he said.
Commey (30-3, 27 KOs), a 34-year-old from Ghana who’s also suffered a loss to López, is more than eager to play spoiler and move ahead in a crowded lightweight division that’s been among the sport’s hottest of late.
“Losing is part of boxing, so regardless of how you lose, it’s all about coming back,” Commey said. “So whatever happened with the Teófimo López fight, it is what it is and I took it as a man. I knew I needed to come back and I came back very strong, and that is the reason why Loma chose me, and Saturday we are going to see what happens.”
The final preliminary bout of the night as under way as the fancied American heavyweight prospect Jared Anderson faces Ukrainian Oleksandr Teslenko. (Anderson, who’s knocked out all 10 of his opponents as a professional, was last seen on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder III undercard in October.)
That means Lomachenko and Commey should be making their ringwalks by the top of the hour.