Sergey Lipinets wanted to be the first man to knock out Walter Castillo, and the 27-year-old Kazakhstan native delivered Friday night in a breakout performance.
Lipinets warmed up as the fight progressed despite a deep cut over his left eye and pummeled Castillo with a barrage of power punches to gain an impressive seventh-round TKO at the Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi.
Sergey Lipinets (10-0, 8 KOs) began the final flurry by landing a perfectly timed counter right hand, which stunned Walter Castillo (26-4-1, 19 KOs) and allowed Lipinets to turn up the heat as he pinned the Nicaraguan against the ropes and slugged away until referee Bill Clancy stepped in to end the fight at the 2:45 mark.
“We knew Walter Castillo was very tough guy coming in, but to be honest, I was surprised by how good a fighter he was,” Lipinets said. “I knew he could take a punch and punch back, but I’m a warrior and I know how to take care of myself when I’m trouble. This fight just took me to a completely different level in boxing.”
The 5-foot-10 Castillo was the more effective boxer in the first couple of rounds as he worked behind his jab and was able to land some solid counterpunches.
Lipinets began to land his power shots in Round 3, and was finding the range in the following round when he was cut on his eyelid by what was officially ruled by Clancy to be a clash of heads but was shown by TV replays to have occurred from a Castillo punch.
“The cut bugged me for a while and was closing my eye a bit. I have never been cut in a fight before,” said Lipinets, who was in his first bout under trainer Buddy McGirt, a former two-division champion.
Lipinets started to take control of the fight when he hurt Castillo in the first minute of Round 6, but he would need another round before he could finish off his Nicaraguan opponent.
In being stopped for the first time in 31 career bouts, Castillo, 27, disagreed with Clancy’s decision despite the many unanswered blows Lipinets was landing at the end.
“They stopped it too early. I was still fighting. I was fine. I was not hurt,” Castillo said. “I don’t know why they stopped it. I was waiting him out and about to open up.
“I am a veteran. If I was hurt, I would have taken a knee. How do you stop a fight without a knockdown?”
It was Castillo’s second straight fight without a victory, following his majority draw against Keita Obara in November, and dropped him to 1-2-1 in his last four bouts.
“I had [Lipinets] fighting scared with the cut. He was fighting desperate and that was his last try,” Castillo said. “I’m very upset. I was able to fight. It was a good fight and that ruined it.
“I don’t mind losing but not like that. Let me go down swinging.”
For the 5-foot-7 Lipinets, the win comes on the heels of his fifth-round KO of Levan Ghvamichava in March. Now based out of Beverly Hills, California, after years of living in Russia, the former kickboxing champion hopes this victory propels him into title contention.
“No one had ever stopped [Castillo],” Lipinets said. “No one ever even hurt him in the ring before and he was in with some solid guys.
“You can say I’m a slow starter, but if I see an opening I will take it early. I pace myself and study my opponent, and then if the guy is still standing in the last half of the fight, he better run.”
In other televised bouts, exciting 126-pound prospect Tugstsogt Nyambayar (6-0, 6 KOs), a 2012 Olympic silver medalist, gained three knockdowns in an 84-second stoppage of Rafael Vazquez (16-3, 13 KOs).
For a complete look at Lipinets vs Castillo, visit our fight page.