With IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey set to defend his title against talented contender Teofimo Lopez this weekend, Commey sits down with Mark Kriegel to discuss his approach to the sport, including all the sacrifices he’s making to realize his dreams. Check out some excerpts from his video interview below..
“I don’t really party,” Commey began. “I don’t really go out. I just love to be by myself, reading my bible, pray a little bit and that’s it.”
On campaigning out of the Bronx, so far away from his native Ghana:
“It’s not easy. (I miss) everything, my mom, I miss my people. It’s all good ‘cause I’m here representing them.
“I always live that way (in solitude) because I don’t want a lot of distractions. You know, I’m here to fight, here to train.”
On his two back-to-back losses to Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov:
“I feel like I’m done, you know. I feel like, ‘where am I gonna start again?’”
On then linking up with trainer Andre Rozier to rebuild:
“He called me ‘son’ and I’m like ‘wow, so what should I call you, coach or uncle?’ And he said ‘whatever you feel like calling me.’ So I started calling him my uncle.”
“(Rozier gave me) everything. The first time I trained with him I’m like ‘wow, this is what I want.’ I’m in the right place, he give me the confidence back that I can still go and become the world champion that I wanted to be.”
On facing a fighter with Lopez’s hype:
“I don’t think he’s a hellacious puncher that everybody might be making him out to be,” Rozier would assess. “I think he becomes inconsistent when he can’t get his way. And that’s gonna be a major problem, ‘cause he’s not gonna be able to get his way in this bout.”
“I beat him with everything that I’ve got, everything that I’ve learned, everything that I’ve been through,” Commey added. “This is my destiny, retain the title as much as I can. I always knew if I really want to be a world champion and be there for a very long time I need to come to the U.S.
“I always pray, God gave me the power to defend it as many years as I can because obviously I wanna be one of the best that Ghana in Africa has ever produced. So before I go to bed I pray and thank him and I pray for him to give me life for another day.”