Top Rank is finally ready to move forward with a past tradition.
The long-discussed lightweight showdown between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Richard Commey is officially set for December 11 on ESPN from Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event was formally announced during a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ telecast Saturday evening, fittingly on a night when the company presented a show from MSG’s Hulu Theater—its first on site since the pandemic.
Lomachenko-Commey represents the best non-title fight that can be made at lightweight. It will headline a boxing event to air immediately after ESPN’s presentation of the Heisman Trophy, awarded to the top college football player and with the ceremony taking place a few city blocks away.
The December 11 show will mark the fourth such occasion, with Lomachenko (15-2, 11KOs) having headlined the first two since Top Rank and ESPN began the tradition in 2017. The two-time Olympic Gold medalist and former three-division titlist topped the December 2017 edition in a seventh-round corner stoppage of fellow two-time Gold medalist and then-unbeaten lineal junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux at the venue now known as Hulu Theater. The fight marked the final defense of the WBO junior lightweight title for Lomachenko, who moved up to lightweight where he survived his first career knockdown to drop and stop Jorge Linares in their May 2018 WBA lightweight title fight in MSG’s main room. He returned to the Theater for the December 2018 post-Heisman card, outpointing Jose Pedraza in their WBA/WBO lightweight title unification bout.
Lomachenko went on to add the WBC lightweight title in an August 2019 win over Luke Campbell in London, only to exchange the belt for the WBC “Franchise” title. Efforts to add another belt fell short when Lomachenko dropped a twelve-round decision to IBF champ Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12KOs), who unified the WBA/IBF/WBO titles in their October 2020 unification bout at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Lomachenko rebounded with a dominant ninth-round stoppage of Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani in a near-flawless performance this past June at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Commey (30-3, 27KOs) returned to the ring this past February, claiming a sixth-round knockout of Jackson Mariñez at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
The fight was his first in 14 months, the previous occasion coming in his IBF title-losing second round knockout to Lopez in their December 2019 clash at MSG. Commey reigned as IBF champ for ten months, his run beginning with a 2nd round knockout of Isa Chaniev earlier that February on the eve of the Super Bowl. One successful defense followed for Commey, an eight-round stoppage of former WBO lightweight titlist Rey Beltran in June 2019.
Lomachenko-Commey comes during an active time in the lightweight division.
The oft-postponed lineal/IBF/WBA/WBO lightweight championship between Lopez and IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos (19-0, 10KOs) takes place November 27 at Hulu Theater. Eight days later, Gervonta “Tank” Davis (25-0, 24KOs) will defend his WBA “World” lightweight title atop a Showtime Pay-Per-View from Staples Center in Los Angeles, most likely versus Isaac Cruz though the opponent still being finalized following the removal of Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero from the show.
WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney (26-0, 15KOs) is currently working to finalize terms for a planned title consolidation clash with interim beltholder Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz (31-1-1, 15KOs). Should the two sides finally reach a deal, the fight is expected to take place December 3 or 4 in Las Vegas.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox