Richard Commey to Defend Lightweight Title Against Resurgent Raymundo Beltran

IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey will defend the title against Raymundo Beltran in Temecula, Calif.

Updated: June 26, 2019 • 9:41 PM ET

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Raymundo Beltran is looking to make a statement against Richard Commey.

The IBF lightweight title will be on the line this Friday, as champion Richard Commey will defend the belt against Raymundo Beltran at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, Calif.

Commey will defend the title for the first time after winning the vacant belt in February with a second-round TKO of Isa Chaniev. The 32-year-old Ghanaian is on a four-fight winning streak after losing two close split-decisions in 2016 to Robert Easter Jr and Denis Shafikov. Commey’s last three fights, all finishes by knockout, have been under new trainer Andre Rozier. He believes he’s headed in the right direction with his new trainer.

“Camp has gone perfectly for the fight, and I have to thank Andre and the team for that,” Commey recently said via Boxing Scene. “We’ve worked as hard as ever and improvements are really starting to show, and I feel I am taking the steps I need to to become an elite fighter.”

Commey knows a win over Beltran would help in landing him on the same level with the bigger names in the boxing world.

“It is a big opportunity for me to put my name out there,” Commey said. “Beltran is a tough guy and he’s been around. So for me to have a chance to fight with this guy will let people see the real me and obviously they’ll see that I’m ready to face whatever comes my way.

“He’s a big guy and he’s been around for a long time, and he’s fought big fighters like (Terence) Crawford and Ricky Burns. He’s fought so many good fighters out there, so it’s always good to share a ring with someone like him and then that will also put your name out there.”

Beltran returned to his winning ways in February with a ninth-round knockout of Hiroki Okada. The win followed a unanimous decision loss to Jose Pedraza last August, in which he surrendered the WBO lightweight belt.

The fight with Commey will be the fifth time the 38-year-old Beltran has fought for a major title (1-2-2 in title fights). Closer to the end of a long career, Beltran says his outlook on boxing and title fights is different than it used to be.

"Y'know what, I love the sport of boxing, but I don't see it as I used to, when I was innocent, like in life and everything," Beltran recently said via ESPN. "I believed in so many things that I just don't believe in anymore because now, it's a business. But I put myself out of the business and I enjoy the sport -- and I love to win."

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Despite the new outlook, Beltran expects a tough fight against Commey.

"I believe I'm going to win the fight," Beltran said. "Richard Commey is a tough fighter. I'm more excited to fight Richard Commey than for the world title, because you can fight for a belt against nobody and you don't get much credit.

“Yeah, you're world champion, but who did you take it from? At the end of the day it's about who you fight. So I'm excited to fight Richard Commey."

Beltran’s first pro fight was in 1999, and he has gained valuable experience against a who’s who of fighters such as Pedraza, Terence Crawford, Paulus Moses, Bryan Vasquez, Takahiro Ao, Arash Usmanee and Ricky Burns.


• The main card can be seen on ESPN this Friday at 10 p.m. ET.