The winner of an International Boxing Federation lightweight title fight between Richard Commey and Isa Chaniev on Saturday at Ford Center at The Star will fight Vasiliy Lomachenko in an April 12 unification bout at Staples Center, promoters said.
Both Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) and Chaniev (13-1, six KOs), meeting on ESPN for the IBF belt vacated last year by unbeaten Mikey Garcia, signed conditional contracts this week to meet Lomachenko.
Lomachenko (12-1, nine KOs), the World Boxing Assn. champion who trains in Oxnard, is coming off a successful unification victory in December, when he added the World Boxing Organization lightweight belt to his collection with a unanimous-decision victory over Jose Pedraza at the Madison Square Garden Theater.
Promoter Lou DiBella, who handles both Ghana’s Commey and Russia’s Chaniev, said while he views Saturday’s bout as a toss-up, the 5-foot-9 Commey could pose problems for the 5-7 Lomachenko.
Commey knocked down recent champion Robert Easter Jr. in the eighth round of their 2016 IBF title fight, but Easter prevailed by split decision.
“This fight’s not a walkover, but Commey is the exact kind of lightweight who could give Lomachenko problems, because he’s tall and strong with range,” DiBella said, pointing to Lomachenko’s bout with former WBA champion Jorge Linares, who knocked down the Ukrainian.
“And while Lomachenko is special, he didn’t walk over Linares or Pedraza, and I believe Commey would easily beat both of those guys.”
MOVING ON UP: Current unbeaten World Boxing Organization super-middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) told the Los Angeles Times he intends to move up to light-heavyweight for his next bout, aiming to become a two-division world champion.
“It was a little hard for me to make 168 in my last fight,” Ramirez said of a majority-decision victory over Jessie Hart in December. “I would still return to 168 if fights were there against someone like Canelo [Alvarez] or [Gennady] Golovkin.”
Until then, Ramirez said he’ll pursue an early spring fight at 175 pounds and hope to meet the winner of Saturday’s WBO light-heavyweight title fight between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev, who each made weight Friday along with Commey, Chaniev, WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez and his opponent, Italy’s Carmine Tommasone.
Ramirez said he likes Alvarez to repeat his victory over Kovalev. “He knows [Kovalev] well, and he’ll have a better strategy and fight with more calm,” he said of Alvarez.
Ramirez also mentioned interest in World Boxing Council light-heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who is promoted under the same Top Rank banner.
“It would be an honor for me to be a champion in two divisions,” Ramirez said. “It would make me a Mexican idol. That’s what I want. That’s what I’m looking for.”
BLIND DATE: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the WBC super-flyweight champion, has signed with English promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and agreed to a rematch against Mexico’s former flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada. The bout is expected to take place in April at a Southland venue.
Executives at the streaming service DAZN don’t like the idea of placing the fight on the first Saturday of April because it coincides with the Final Four, so a fight date of Friday, April 5, or later in the month is being mulled, as is whether to place the bout at the Forum or the newly named Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson.