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Richard Commey scores comeback; Joseph Diaz Jr. draws Saturday

Written By | Feb 14, 2021
Richard Commey and Jackson Marinez exchange punches during their fight at the MGM Grand Conference Center on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc

Richard Commey and Jackson Marinez exchange punches during their fight at the MGM Grand Conference Center on Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO, Calif., February 13, 2021  – Richard Commey of Ghana (30-3, 27 KOs) delivered a sixth knockout win over Jackson Marinez of the Dominican Republic (19-2, 7 KOs) so splashy, it was easy to forget the fight was originally the co-main event to big punching Joe Smith Jr.

Coming off a 19-month layoff after being on the receiving event of a knockout blast by Teofimo Lopez, Commey had Lopez cheering in his corner during the fight. It was a must-win fight for Commey to ever get another title shot in the competitive division, and now it seems he’ll get one.

Richard Commey (left) restored his title fight hopes thanks to his knockout power Saturday. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Inc

Richard Commey (left) restored his title fight hopes thanks to his knockout power Saturday. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Inc

Marinez held his own in the early rounds. By his own admission, Commey took several rounds to find his rhythm. He did, and when he did it was lights out for Marinez. Commey landed a hard right hook to the temple in a three punch combination to drop Marinez, who beat the count. But when referee Kenny Bayliss let Marinez continue, it was target practice. Commey landed a straight right to drop Marinez and close it out at 2:35 of the sixth round.

“I started very slow, I’ve been out for a year,” said Commey. “ My rhythm, I didn’t get my rhythm right.” Commey said the support from Lopez was serendipitous. He saw him in the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel during fight week. “Apart from getting the ring and the wars, you need to show love to one another … We chat, we hug. I always liked him. For him to come down to my corner shows tremendous love. That’s how it’s supposed to be regardless of who you are.”

Jared Anderson blasts Kingsley Ibeh

Jared Anderson is victorious as he defeats Kingsley Ibeh at the MGM Grand Conference Center Saturday. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc.

Heavyweight Jared Anderson of Toledo (8-0, 8 KOs) went deeper into his fight against Kingsley Ibeh of Phoenix (5-2-1, 4 KOs) than he had in his previous fights, but he ended the fight with a stunning knockout in the final round of a six-round bout. Anderson dominated throughout as Ibeh took shots while bleeding from the nose from the first round on. Anderson feinted with a left, threw a right jab, then delivered a hard check left hook to the temple. It’s a devastating shot when it lands, and it was lights out for Ibeh at 2:19 of the round.

“I saw it coming, I was patient all those rounds, I came to him,” said Anderson.

“Those six rounds was a breeze, next time, I hope to get more,” said Anderson. “We’re going to keep fighting prospects, people who say they can’t be beat, their oh has got to go.” The 21-year-old is doing all the right things at this early stage of his career.

Adam Lopez and Jason Sanchez trade shots. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Inc.

Adam Lopez of Glendale (15-2, 6 KOs) successfully defended his NABF featherweight title against former world title challenger Jason Sanchez of Albuquerque (15-3, 8 KOs), pulling out with a strong performance in the second half to win by majority decision in ten rounds. Scores were 97-93, 96-94, and 95-95. Lopez had to rethink his approach and reset his offense by letting his jab lead the way. Trainer Buddy McGirt pushed Lopez, so he didn’t let the fight slip away.

Troy Isley won his professional debut with a four round shutout. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing Richard Commey

Troy Isley won his professional debut with a four-round shutout. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Former U.S. amateur star Troy Isley enjoyed a successful professional debut with a solid four-round shutout on the scorecards against Bryant Costello. The 22-year-old Washington DC native is in great hands in the camp of trainer Kay Koroma, and you can’t beat having Terence Crawford in the corner as your assistant trainer. Isley will learn good training habits from them as he rises through the ranks.

Joseph Diaz Jr. fights to draw against Shavkat Rakhimov.

Joseph Diaz Jr. (left) found a home for his left hand to save a majority draw against Shavkat Rahkimov. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy

Former IBF junior lightweight champion Joseph Diaz Jr. (31-1-1, 15 KOs) of South El Monte, California, had a rough week after losing his title on the scale before stepping into the ring Saturday against Shavkat Rakhimov of Russia via Tajikistan (15-0-1, 12 KOs). Diaz Jr. had to rally and dig down in the later rounds to hold off Rakhimov to escape with a majority draw. Scores were 115-113 for Diaz Jr. on a single card and 114-114 on the other two.

Diaz Jr.’s time out of the ring showed in the early rounds. Rakhimov got the better of Diaz Jr. early, digging to the body effectively. With his father and trainer Joseph Sr. urging him to get busy, Diaz Jr. began to find a home for a hard left hook. Rakhimov took the punches well. As the fight moved into the middle rounds, Diaz Jr. started gaining ground, backing Rakhimov up and landing his best punch, the left hook.

Both corners pressed their fighters to win the final rounds of a close fight. The more experienced Diaz Jr. called on his advantage to dig deep and win the final rounds. But either he or his corner miscounted rounds, thinking the 11th round was the 12th round. It was a lucky mistake because Diaz Jr. had to unload for another three minutes,, and in a close fight, it mattered.

Shavkat Rahkimov can learn from the draw and find a new gear working with trainer Freddie Roach. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy

Rakhimov didn’t embarrass himself, and if he learns from the loss, he’ll get more opportunities. Standing with manager Egis Klimas who did the translating, Rakhimov said, “I did everything I was supposed to do. The judges weren’t on my side. I made a few mistakes, and I need to work on it … We’re going to be working on those mistakes and be prepared for a fight – there is no ideal boxer. I want to get more American fans.”

After the bout, Diaz Jr. believed he did enough to win outright but admitted it wasn’t his best performance.

“It was a long layoff. I want to apologize to DAZN, I want to apologize to all my fans who have been rooting for me since day one, who have been rocking with me and wanted to watch this fight. It was a mistake on my part. No excuses but I’ll get back into it.” Diaz Jr. said his conditioning was fine, but he expected more pressure from Rakhimov and felt it threw him off in the first half of the fight until he began to apply pressure and land countershots.

Diaz Jr. loses his cool

Diaz Jr. should have stopped there. Instead, under polite but pointed questions from interviewer Beto Duran about outside distractions, Diaz Jr. dissolved and lost his cool.

“All the outside distractions are just bullshit, man. A lot of people want to come into my life and take a part of my exposure and my talent and make some money off of me because they can. These guys are all greedy Don King mother****ers man, and it’s bullshit. At the end of the day, I try to remain calm.”

Diaz Jr. admitted to being human, making mistakes, and being far from perfect. Nice recovery. Then came the COVID excuses, griping about the situation at the fight hotel with a lack of the facilities he’s used to in the gym, including a sauna.

“They had me working in my hotel room with the heat on.  It’s just completely different how a world title type fight should be. I tried to adapt to it. I worked inside the room with a jump rope. I felt weak. My health is more important … I won’t risk my life trying to make the weight and really, really deplete myself and get hurt inside the ring. There’s no need to f***ing please anybody. At t the end of I’m doing this for myself, and take care of my family and take care of myself,” said Diaz Jr.

It’s not a good look. Diaz Jr. isn’t a youngster. Let’s hope he gets a good night’s sleep, and in the weeks to come, he owns his problems and makes it up to everyone he let down, including himself. In the meantime, former foe Tevin Farmer is having a field day roasting Diaz Jr. on social media. Who wouldn’t like to see the rematch now, title shot or not?

Brian Castano tees up unification title fight after Patrick Teixeira defeat

Brian Castano won the WBO Super Welterweight title from Patrick Teixeira to set up a possible unificcation fight with Jermell Charlo. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy

Brian Castano won the WBO Super Welterweight title from Patrick Teixeira to set up a possible unification fight with Jermell Charlo. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy

The co-main event turned out to be a one-sided performance by Brian Castano of Argentina (17-0-1, 12 KOs), who overwhelmed Patrick Teixeira of Brazil (31-2, 22 KOs) with nonstop offense to win the vacant WBO World Super Welterweight title. Scores were 120-108, 119-109, and 117-111. The entire Castano team burst into song after the win. Diego Madrona, whose face adorned Castano’s trunks as a tribute, would be proud.

Teixeira couldn’t muster enough speed or defense to offset or escape Castano’s pressure. Castano came within a whisker of stopping Teixeira behind a body shot in the final round, but Teixeira’s corner urged him to finish on his feet, and he did. Castano was by far the shorter man, but he knows how to fight on the inside and take the height and reach advantage away from his opponents.

Castano landed 373 of 1136 punches (33%) against 197 of 972 by Teixeira (20%), 344 of those were power shots.

The final round and the win Saturday put Castano in a solid position as a fresh talent in a division with many good options. Castano has already mentioned he would love to face Jermell Charlo in a unification fight. If not Charlo, who wouldn’t love to see Castano tangle with former titleholders Tony Harrison, Jeison Rosario, or Julian Williams?

READ MORE: Upset special in London – Mauricio Lara delivers TKO9 win over Josh Warrington

Ronny Rios roars past Oscar Negrete

Ronny Rios delivered an impressive offensive performance against the tough Oscar Negrete. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy

Ronny Rios of Santa Ana (33-3, 16 KOs) made a good decision to drop to the 122-pound division. The bigger Rios looked strong through ten rounds, pounding Golden Boy stablemate Oscar Negrete of Colombia (19-3-2k 7 KOs) to win a unanimous decision just a single round on one scorecard shy of a shutout. Negrete is a tough customer. The relentless body attack from Rios would have dropped many other opponents. Rios outlanded Negrete 290 punches of 880 total to 150 of 630 for Negrete; with 268 of those power shots against just 118 for Negrete.

Rios said he only gave himself a C grade. “I’m very hard on myself. The last couple of fights were by stoppage. I have to go review the tape. No one’s harder on themselves than me,” said Rios.

Rios said he welcomes the opportunity to fight titleholder Murodjon Akhmadaliev. “I know they mentioned MJ, that’s a fight I want. We can make that happen. I don’t pick and choose, I don’t go the easy route.  I’ll tell you this, it’s not for the money. I want to be the best Ronny I can be and see where I stand up against the rest. I want to challenge myself.” This is what the fans love to hear.

Bektemir Melikuziev had little trouble with Morgan Fitch, putting on a power display. Photo: Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos / Golden Boy

Bektemir “Bek the Bully” Melikuziev of Uzbekistan (7-0, 6 KOs) took care of business against veteran Morgan Fitch of Pittsburgh (19-5-1, 8 KOs) with a third-round knockout. Melikuziev continues to look strong and will only improve while he waits to find out whether his previously scheduled fight against former world champion Sergey Kovalev gets back on the calendar. He’s a welcome addition to the strong light heavyweight division.

Middleweight Shane Mosley Jr. of Pomona (17-3, 10 KOs) also got the win by stoppage over solid journeyman Cristian Olivas of Mexicali (20-9, 17 KOs). Mosley Jr. delivered round after round of offense, breaking Olivas down. Olivas didn’t come out of his corner for the sixth round.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2021 by Falcon Valley Group


Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.