IBF World Lightweight Champion Richard Commey will face former world champion Ray Beltran on June 28 at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California.
The bout will headline a Top Rank Promotions card on U.S. sports network ESPN.
Ghana’s Commey will be making the first defense of the title he won last February, when he KO’ed Russia’s Isa Chaniev in two rounds at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
In the 37-year-old Beltran (36-8-1, 22 KOs), he faces a formidable veteran of five world title bouts. The Mexican slugger won the WBO world lightweight championship in February 2018, via a spirited 12-round decision over Namibia’s Paulus Moses.
Beltran would lose the belt in August of that year, when Jose Pedraza defeated him on points. It was Beltran’s first title defense.
Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) will look to avoid a similar fate. The hand injury suffered against Chaniev is fully healed and the champion is already in the gym working with trainers Andre Rozier and Gary Stark Sr.
The winner of this bout will likely face the mandatory challenger next. That position is up for grabs. The IBF has sanctioned a bout between rising, 21-year-old phenom Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) and Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12 KOs).
That fight is nearly finalized for July 19. Should Commey and Lopez emerge victorious in their respective bouts, fight fans may be looking at what would be an explosive, Fight of the Year candidate should the two face off later this year.
Commey, 32, is also eyeing a shot at unified 135-pound champion Vasiliy Lomachenko. Ukraine’s Lomachenko, who holds the WBA and WBO belts, is expected to return in the Fall 2019 against England’s Luke Campbell in a fight for the vacant WBC belt, as well as Loma’s current titles.
But first the Ghanaian must take care of his own business versus the hard-hitting and hard-headed Beltran. No word on an official announcement but stay tuned to BoxingAfrica.com for more details.