12 Rounds With … Sergey Lipinets

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Sergey Lipinets embraces comparisons to unbeaten 160-pound world champion and Kazakh countryman Gennady Golovkin. He looks to follow his example in a 140-pound title fight against Japan’s Akihiro Kondo at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on November 4.

Unbeaten 140-pound contender Sergey Lipinets fights for his first world title Saturday, November 4, 2017 when he faces Japan’s Akihiro Kondo at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Amanda Westcott/Showtime)

The 28-year-old Sergey Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs) will be after his fourth straight stoppage victory against Akihiro Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs) on the undercard of Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title defense against Bermane Stiverne on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT).

Lipinets returns to the site of his last victory – a seventh round TKO victory over Clarence Booth in March. The 32-year-old Kondo brings an eight-fight winning streak that includes six knockouts into the bout, including stoppages over his past five opponents.

If Lipinets beats Kondo he will join Kanat “The Kazak” Islam (147 pounds) and Vassiliy Jirov (200 pounds) and Beibet Shumenov (175/ 200 pounds) as countrymen who have won crowns.

Other big victories for Lipinets are a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Lydell Rhodes (October, 2015), a fifth-round KO of Levan Ghvamichava (March 2016) and a seventh-round stoppage of Walter Castillo (July 2016).

This is Lipinets fourth fight with renowned cornerman Buddy McGirt. “The Samurai” joins Shumenov, former 140-pound titleholder Chris Algieri and retired heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko as boxers who got their starts in kickboxing.

Have you met Golovkin?

We met a while back in Big Bear, California when Golovkin was preparing to fight Dominic Wade and I was getting ready for Levan Ghvamichava. We took a photo together, and Gennady asked me where I was from, and we kind of connected on the area’s where we were born. We didn’t talk too much about boxing.

I look at Gennady as a role model and an older brother in a sense that with Gennady Golovkin coming to the United States and making noise, and money and being the top fighter that he’s become, I feel as if I can do that, too.

I watch his fights and I learn from his success and his mistakes. Gennady is careful with the words he chooses and the moves he makes, and I learn from everything Golovkin does. I understand that many people are going to associate me with Golovkin.

But I believe that I’m the new generation. Hopefully Golovkin watches my fights and supports me as well. But I’m not starstruck. I want people to buy my T-shirts and my hats and to talk about me based on my abilities. I want to make my own legacy.

What do you recall about your experience at Barclays, stopping Booth?

The excitement in that arena was unbelievable for the Thurman-Garcia card. I love the New York and American boxing fans.

They were very passionate and reacted to every punch that was thrown or connected. They love boxing, and it really makes me want to do better than the last time.

What do you know about Kondo and are you gunning for a knockout?

Well, I’m getting ready to do everything possible to steal the show, and of course that means I want a knockout.

I’m not going in looking for the knockout, but I’m going to break down Kondo one round at a time. Little by little, if the knockout comes, I’ll take it.

But I know he’s a tough fighter from Japan. Buddy studies the guy and I rely on what he sees and tells me to do, how to fight and what to go after.

Do you have a boxing idol or hero?

Two guys with different styles that I like are Mike Tyson and James Toney. I’ve met James Toney and I know him and I consider him a Top 10 fighter of all time.

How was the transition from kickboxing to boxing?

As a kickboxer, most of my knockouts were a result of using my hands, so the transition to boxing was more about the endurance and it was not that bad.

We had two different coaches, one for boxing and one for kickboxing. I was competing in amateur boxing as well to get experience.

There were some hurdles. I squared up too much and had to learn to create distance with my jab. We were able to eliminate that, and I’m the boxer you see, now. 

I look at Gennady as a role model and an older brother in a sense that with Gennady Golovkin coming to the United States and making noise, and money and being the top fighter that he’s become, I feel as if I can do that, too. Unbeaten 140-pound contender Sergey Lipinets

Of all the boxers in history, who do you wish you could’ve fought, and how would the fight have played out?

I think Roberto Duran would be a great fight, and I think I would win with a body shot.

Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …

If not for boxing, I would probably have remained a kickboxer. But I might also be a chess player.

What about a favorite punch to throw?

My favorite punches are the overhand right or the right cross, and I believe that I landed some of them perfectly against Levan Ghvamichava against Walter Castillo.

I knocked out Ghvamichava with my left hook to the liver, which doubled over, but it was the right hand that changed the whole fight.

Do you have a favorite boxing movie?

I like the Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg, the movie about Micky Ward. That is my favorite movie, despite that not much was going his way, initially.

Even though he didn’t have many natural skills, he continued to press on and to accomplish his goal of being a champion with persistence, perseverance and power.

If there is one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?

I want world peace. There is too much anger and anguish in the world. People say that they’re fighting for things that they really don’t even know what they’re fighting for.

I used to be an aggressive person, but I’ve overcome that. So I would change the attitude of people around the world to being more kind, accepting and hospitable to one another.

For more information on Sergey Lipinets, visit his fighter profile.

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