Denis Shafikov vs. Richard Commey – Results
By Jim Dower: #3 IBF Richard Commey (24-2, 22 KOs) suffered his second consecutive loss on Friday night in losing to #5 IBF Denis Shafikov (38-2-1, 20 KOs) by a 12 round split decision in their IBF lightweight eliminator math at the Tough Fight Gym in Moscow, Russia. The final judges’ sores were 116-112, 115-113 for Shafikov and 116-112 for Commey.
Boxing News 24 had Shafikov winning 7 rounds to 5. Shafikov, 31, was outworked by Commey in the first five rounds of the match, but the Russian fighter rallied in the last seven rounds to get the edge. The wasn’t much of a crowd that showed up to see this fight.
It looked like there was all 100 boxing fans that showed. I’m sure there were people than that, but probably not much. This was one of the smallest crowds I’ve seen for a match between top contenders. It just a tiny group of people that showed up to see the Commey vs. Shafikov contest.
Commey was frequently backing up against the ropes and covering up in each round. This allowed the southpaw Shafikov to come forward and land a lot of heavy shots to the head and body.
The taller 5’9” Commey tried to use his four inch height advantage over the 5’5” Shafikov in the fight, but he couldn’t keep the Russian fighter off of him. Shafikov showed no respect for the constant jabs and power shots that Commey was throwing at him.
Shafikov walked through the shots, and did a good job of ducking many of them in order to get on the inside. Once Shafikov was at close range, he was able to land hard punches to the head and body of Commey. The only thing Commey could do was cover up and hold. Commey’s punches at close range had little snap, because he wasn’t able to extend on his shots the way he needed to.
Commey did land some nice shots in the first five rounds of the fight when he was moving and keeping Shafikov at the end of his punches. However, the movement by Commey kept him from being able to get the power on his shots that he needed to for him to hurt Shafikov and keep him on the outside.
The pressure and the constant attacking style that the 5’5” Shafikov used in the fight was reminiscent of middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in how he fights. It’s not surprising that Shafikov fights like Golovkin, because he shares the same trainer in Abel Sanchez. He had Shafikov constantly on top of Commey in not giving him any breathing room, and throwing a lot of hard body shots that seemed to drain the energy out of him.
Like Golovkin in his last fight against Kell Brook, Shafikov increased the pressure of his attacks starting in the 3rd round. Shafikov started throwing harder punches, and he was catching Commey two or three times per round with shots that snapped his head back violenty. Those punches were hard to miss, and the judges obviously saw them too, because they gave Shafkov.
Commey was doing a good job of covering up to block the head shots, but he couldn’t do anything to keep from getting hit to the body of Shafikov. Those punches got through really well. Shafikov would land two or three consecutive body shots to each side of Commey’s midsection. Shafikov did an excelleht job of mixing up his punches to each side of Commey’s body.
In rounds 6, 7 and 9, Shafikov nailed Commey with tremendous left hands to the head that sent sweat flying into the audience. Commey took the shots and fired back weak jabs, but they didn’t have nearly the same kind of power on them that Shafikov’s punches did. The fight turned around completely in Shafikov’s favor after the 5th. That’s when he started to apply more pressure on Commey and hit him harder with his left hands. Whatever Shafikov’s trainer Abel Sanchez told him after the 5th round, he followed the instructions well, because he turned the fight around completely from 6th round on.
In hindsight, Commey made the mistake of retreating to the ropes and staying there for much of each round. It’s like he didn’t have the legs to move around the ring, so he would retreat to the ropes and cover up. Shafikov took advantage of this mistake by Commey to outland him by a wide margin each time he would back up against the ropes.
In the 12th round, Commey threw a lot of punches in a last ditch effort to pull out the win. However, Commey was too tired by that point in the fight, and wound up missing badly with his punches.
Commey didn’t have the ability to fight in the center of the ring at all in the fight. He could stand his ground at all, even in the early rounds of the fight. Commey fought like he didn’t have the legs to stay in center ring to meet Shafikov head on. Perhaps one reason for that was because of the body punches that Shafikov was hitting him with. Commey couldn’t brace for the impact of the punches to the body while in the center of the ring like he could when he was against the ropes.
The win for Shafikov puts him in a title fight against IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. It’ll be the third time Shafikov has fought for a world title. Hopefully for his sake, he’ll finally win one. It’s going to be a lot tougher against Easter Jr. than it was tonight against Commey, because Easter is a better puncher, and he’ll stand his ground more. I’d pick Easter Jr. over Shafikov, because he’s got a lot of power, and he’s able to move around the ring and throw with major power while moving. Easter Jr. isn’t the type to retreat to the ropes over and over in each round like we saw with Commey.
I don’t know what was going through Commey’s mind tonight. He should have known that he was going to lose the fight with the way that he was fighting off the ropes in every round. It was a bad decision on Commey’s part to fight the way he did. Commey fought like he hadn’t trained to fight a pressure fighter, because he fought the wrong way for the entire 12 rounds.
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