Richard Commey injured hand in Saturday fight, will have MRI

Richard Commey, who won a vacant lightweight world title on Saturday night, has his next fight already signed for April 12, and it's a big one, as long as his sore right hand is healthy.

Commey is supposed to fight pound-for-pound king and two-belt lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko to unify their three titles at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card.

However, Commey injured his right hand during an explosive second-round knockout of Isa Chaniev to win the vacant 135-pound belt on the ESPN undercard at the Ford Center at The Star -- the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys -- in Frisco, Texas. Commey visited a hand specialist in New York on Tuesday.

"There seems to be an issue with a ligament on his right hand, his right knuckle," Lou DiBella, Commey's promoter, told ESPN on Tuesday. "Before there is any definitive prognosis, they want him to have an MRI and whatever other imaging they need to do. Richard went to see the hand specialist [on Tuesday]. The doctor sent him for imaging, which he will have done on Wednesday, and on Thursday the doctor will review everything and give us a prognosis about whether he will be able to fight on April 12.

"My perspective is that I'm not going to play doctor. Right now, there is an issue that has to be dealt with, and on Thursday we'll know the extent of it."

In his second shot at a lightweight world title, Commey (28-2, 25 KOs), 31, of Ghana, thrashed Chaniev (13-2, 6 KOs), 26, of Russia, knocking him down three times en route to a booming knockout. Commey knocked him down late in the first round and twice more in the second round for the knockout.

At ringside following the fight, Commey said he hurt his right knuckle landing a big punch on Chaniev but that he did not think it was too bad of an injury. Later on Saturday night, he was all smiles, enjoying a celebration at the fight hotel with his hand wrapped up.

Even if the injury is not serious, it remains to be seen if his hand will be good enough for him to begin training for a fight that is just 2½ months away, especially one against boxing's No. 1 fighter in Lomachenko (12-1, 9 KOs), 30, the two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine.

Commey and Chaniev both came into the fight having already signed to face Lomachenko if they were to win. That was part of the deal that Top Rank made with DiBella, who promotes Commey and Chaniev, to put the fight on Saturday's card, which was headlined by Sergey Kovalev's unanimous decision victory to regain a light heavyweight world title in his rematch against Eleider "Storm" Alvarez.

Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN that the hope is that Commey's hand is OK and that he will be able to face Lomachenko on April 12. If not, Moretti said the company would either move Lomachenko to a new date to give Commey enough time to heal or have Lomachenko fight another opponent, possibly former titlist Anthony Crolla, who is one of his mandatory opponents, on April 12, with the unification fight against Commey to come after that, as long as Lomachenko wins.