Inside the Mind of Sergey Lipinets

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The former world 140-pound titlist goes beyond boxing as he prepares to face John Molina Jr. in a welterweight battle Saturday night on FOX Sports PPV.

Former world super lightweight champion Sergey “Samurai” Lipinets (15-1, 11 KOs) is perhaps best known for being an aggressive, offensive-minded fighter. Yet Lipinets also utilizes his high skill level, replete with subtle use of angles and defensive awareness, to executive his strategy.

The 30-year-old Lipinets (15-1, 11 KOs) will need to utilize all his tools when he faces hard-hitting veteran John Molina Jr. (30-8, 24 KOs) Saturday night at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Lipinets-Molina is part of a stacked card, headlined by the welterweight title bout featuring boxing legend Manny Pacquiao versus 147-pound world champion Keith Thurman, live on FOX Sports PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

“John is a very tough, experienced and dangerous fighter,” said Lipinets. “He fought the best in the game and he will be a very big challenge for me to overcome.”

Even so, Lipinets will be looking to make a statement in his second bout at 147-pounds. While his skillset continues to improve, he credits his solid foundation to his first combat sport, kickboxing.

“Kickboxing is a big part of me being able to use my legs and change angles at all times,” Sergey said. “But really, it takes a lot of thinking in that ring despite of what a lot of people think about fighters.”

While Lipinets grew up in Russia, he fights in a more traditionally American fighting style.

“The way my style was developed is a combination of my natural desire for offense and the way my manager was picking training for me. Being a kickboxer at first also helped,” added Lipinets.

On fight night, Lipinets doesn’t necessarily have a specific ritual to get in the mindset to enter the ring.

“By the time I'm ready to come to the ring I'm already in the zone. Every possible scenario of the fight has already been played out in my head—and in the ring during sparring in camp. More or less, there is nothing left to do but execute.”

That last sentence is fitting, especially given Lipinets’ “Samurai” nickname. It’s an unusual one, given the part of the world he hails from.

“When I was 12 years old and start doing martial arts, the kids in school started calling me ‘Samurai.’” Lipinets recalled. “Probably mostly because of my love of the sport and the facial features that I had. Either way, I liked it and it stuck with me.”

Everyone loves a Cinderella story. Former World Super Lightweight Champion - Sergey Lipinets

Outside the ring, Lipinets is a devoted family man. They are his, in his opinion, his greatest achievement.

“So far it’s having my family, my wife and my son, in my corner every second of a day,” Lipinets said. “Without them, the drive and desire would be different.”

All of us are inspired by someone, whether it’s someone we know personally or someone we’ve only seen on TV. For Lipinets, it was the first person he saw overcome real adversity the way he would need to, both in boxing and in life.

“My mom is one of my heroes. To overcome the hard life that she had, she had to remain positive and still love life as it is. That takes more than just physical strength. It takes a strong spirit, and to have that is very unique.”

In boxing, Lipinets looks up to fighters who prove that public perception of them is all wrong. In a stacked welterweight division, he hopes to pull off a couple surprises himself.

“I respect every fighter that steps in that square. It’s a tough sport that requires tough people, but every time I see an underdog rise to the occasion and beats the odds, I admire it, such as, recently, J Rock [Julian Williams] or Andy Ruiz. Those guys are definitely prime examples of everything our sport of boxing represents.”

Lipinets has adjusted well to life in America. His favorites match up well with his new residence in California.

“All my meals [before a fight] are being picked my trainer,” said Lipinets. “Normally it’s pasta or plain chicken and salad. But day-to-day, I love Mexican food the most.”

Thanks to the lessons he learned from his mother, Lipinets believes in being practical, rather than focusing on escapism or entertainment. He doesn’t even have a favorite fictional character.

“I really don’t believe in fiction,” Lipinets said. “Life puts me in touch with real people every day—different characters and different vibes. That's what I look for.”

Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop him from indulging every now and then.

“Rocky was one of my favorites,” Lipinets admitted. “Everyone loves a Cinderella story.”

Especially a real-life version.

For a closer look at Sergey Lipinets, check out his fighter page.

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