Richard Commey will put his IBF lightweight crown on the line against Teofimo Lopez before the end of the year, Top Rank boss Bob Arum has confirmed to WBN.
Commey and Lopez will trade blows in the headliner of an in-house show to be broadcast on ESPN+.
The winner is set to face Vasyl Lomachenko in the first quarter of 2020.
Asked in an interview about the date and location for the fight, Arum was forthcoming with his answer.
“Yes, it’s 100% on for December 14. The fight will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York,” Arum exclusively told World Boxing News.
Defending his belt for the second time, Ghanaian Commey will be aiming to build on his recent win over Ray Beltran. Commey faces a tough test in 14-0 Lopez.
Highly touted as one of the best future prospects on the Top Rank roster at the moment, Lopez has been turning on the style of late.
Impressive wins over Masayoshi Nakatani, Edis Tatli, Diego Magdaleno, Mason Menard and William Silva have pushed Lopez into world class. Onto the cusp of this title imminent shot.
Arum believes confidence has played a big part in the progress of the talented New Yorker.
“I mean if you talk to him and his father, they’ve already arrived. Lomachenko would be lucky to survive against Lopez in his mind,” stated the 87 year-old Hall of Famer.
“But he is talented. He’s very charismatic and before we can talk about him having a shot against Lomachenko, he’s got to be able to beat Commey.
Asked for a prediction on whether Lopez can pull off the win, Arum answered: “I don’t know. But it’s a good fight. That’s why they put on the gloves and the fans pay their money.
“Nobody could predict with any certainty other than Lopez, that’ll predict at any time, who’s going to win that fight,” he concluded.
Lomachenko is waiting in the wings following his superb showing against Luke Campbell in London.
The Ukrainian superstar reclaimed top spot in the WBN Pound for Pound Rankings and is now three belts deep at 135 pounds.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay (article transcribed by Assistant Editor).