Late last year we saw Kazakh born Russian Sergey Lipinets (13-1, 10) claim the IBF Light Welterweight title as he out pointed Akihiro Kondo a tough and gruelling fight. In his first defense, this past Saturday night, Lipinets battled multi-weight champion Mikey Garcia (38-0, 30), and this time Lipinet's would be unable to come out on top, losing a very tough and damaging fight.
Garcia looked incredible to begin the bout, winning the first two rounds and looking close to untouchable as he controlled the distance, landed some massive right hands and looked amazingly crisp. In round 3 however the fight took a swing towards Lipinets, who busted Garcia's nose and began to make adjustments to avoid some of the right hands Garcia was landing. It wasn't enough to win the round, but it was making life tougher for Garcia.
In the middle rounds Lipinets began to find more and more success, having success with his own jab, and tagging the body of Garcia, who seemed to become a little bit hesitant and held back slightly. It allowed Lipinets to make the middle rounds a little bit more competitive, and at one point it began to look like Garcia was going to be worn down and forced to fight Lipinet's fight.
The success of Lipinets was forgotten somewhat in round 7 when Garcia dropped him with a monstrous hook. The heart Lipinets showed to get to his feet was impressive, and but from there on it seemed like Garcia had a second wind, and a new found belief as he went on to clearly win the following few rounds. At times Lipinets did will to trap Garcia on the ropes, but struggled to do anything with him on them, and despite having moments, he never managed to grab he bout by the scruff off the neck.
The final round came around and it was clear Lipinets had to go big, and to his credit he tried, especially early on and very late, and at one point he did have Garcia in some trouble. Sadly for him however Garcia saw off the storm and landed his own eye catching shots to finish strongly against the tough and offensive Kazakh.
Despite the effort from the Kazakh he had clear lost, the judges saw it a clear win for Garcia with scores of 116-111, and 117-110, twice to become a 4 weight champion and score his latest big win. He not only won, with some ease, but showed his power carries up to Light Welterweight, all the way from Featherweight, and that he is a man who still has a lot left to give the sport, at whatever weight he'll be continuing his career at.
For Lipinets this loss is a serious setback, and despite the loss he will remain a top Light Welterweight, but will also be on that many other contenders will look to avoid give his toughness, desire and power.
The Light Welterweight division was, earlier this year, the only division with an undisputed champion thanks to Terence Crawford. Having conquered the division Crawford stated his intent was to move up, and as a result a number of titles became vacant. One of those was the IBF title, which saw a new champion being crowned on Saturday, as Kazakh born Russian based fighter Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10) out pointed Japan's Akihiro Kondo (29-7-1, 16) [近藤 明広] in a really tough and draining bout.
The fight started really well for Lipinets, who looked too slick, too fresh and too quick for Kondo early on. The Japanese fighter walked forward through some big shots from Lipinets and it was clear that Kondo's toughness was going to give Lipinets problems with the Japanese fighter showing no fear of Lipinets' much lauded power.
As the fight went on Kondo began to pick up the pace, began to find his range and began to press the tempo, with his body shots beginning to connect almost as often as the ones thrown by Lipinets. The Kazakh seemed to have more power on his shots but he never discouraged Kondo who's body assault in round 3 seemed to take a toll on Lipinet's, who was being forced to work harder than he'd have expected. The increase in work from Lipinets showed in round 4, a very good round for him, but in round 5 it slowed and Kondo began to find cracks. A right hand from Kondo part way through the round seemed to clearly buzz Lipinets, who got on his bike late in the round.
In round Kondo's aggression amped up again and when the two men got too close a headclash left Lipinets with a cut on the hairline. The doctor did look at the cut but it seemed clear that the cut was never going to be fight ending. Itstead of threatening to end the fight early the cut was encouragement for Kondo who had one of his best rounds in round 7, and built on that in rounds 8 and 9 as he began to carve into the lead of Lipinets and make things very interesting. Not only was Kondo having success but Lipinets was beginning to tire and that showed in a pretty low action round 10, where Lipinets used a lot of movement, but threw very little.
Despite looking to have faded over the previous few rounds Lipinets managed to find a second wind in round 11 as he used his skills to make the most of Kondo's mistakes. It was a really good comeback round form Lipinets and left Kondo with work to do in the final 3 minutes, and boy did Kondo go for it. The Japanese warrior took the fight to Lipinets through an action packed final round, with Lipinets being forced to work hard to keep up with Kondo.
Having 12 rounds both men showed the damage of war over their faces, with with both having lumps and bumps visible on their face. Sadly for Kondo though the judges weren't impressed by his success and gave Lipinets the bout with scores of 118-110 and 117-111.
We don't think many would argue too strongly against Lipinets winning, but we also don't see how the bout was so wide. We had the bout 115-113 to Lipinets, Steve Farhood for Showtime had it 114-114 and it was certainly a closer contests than the judges suggest. For Lipinets it was a title win that took some shine off his rise, whilst the loss for Kondo certainly enhanced his profile, and he will likely get another big Stateside fight if he wants one. It was a funny old outcome, but a very good fight.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.