Coming in on five days’ notice, you would expect former world champion Sergey Lipinets to not be at his best, but that was clearly not the case. Lipinets dropped and punished former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. for eight rounds, causing Figueroa’s father and trainer Omar Sr. to stop the fight before the start of the ninth round in a scheduled 12-round WBC Super Lightweight title eliminator headlining live on SHOWTIME Saturday, August 20 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. in a Premier Boxing Champions Event.
A disappointed Figueroa announced his retirement following the fight, which based on his performance Saturday night, might be a good thing.
Lipinets dropped Figueroa (28-3-1, 19 KOs) with a short, compact counter right hand with a minute left in the second round. Figueroa rose on shaky legs and Lipinets (17-2-1, 13 KOs) moved in and inflicted more punishment, round after round until the bout was stopped. Lipinets was initially penciled in to perform on the non-televised portion of the undercard but was shifted to the main event when former four-time champion Adrien Broner withdrew from the matchup with Figueroa, citing mental health issues.
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
“I had a good fighter in front of me,” Lipinets said in the ring afterward. “My hat’s off to Omar for being a warrior. The punch that rocked Omar is the punch that my trainer and I have been working on for a long time. He came at me, and it was the perfect time to use it. I was too focused on protecting myself. I was concerned about him answering my punches, but it was not my job to stop the fight. 140 is my weight. I came back. I’m back.”
Lipinets held Figueroa to just 44 landed punches over eight rounds while landing 172 shots and 46.7% of his power punches on his way to the 8th round TKO.
Once an aggressive, punishing fighter who overwhelmed his opponents with pressure, Figueroa suffered his third straight loss after dropping a decision to Yordenis Ugas in 2019 and suffering a KO loss to Abel Ramos in May 2021. Figueroa fought valiantly, even stunning Lipinets with a right hand midway through the sixth, but it was otherwise a resounding performance from Lipinets, who stamped his name as a player in the suddenly crowded super lightweight division.
Lipinets hadn’t fought in 16 months since a sixth-round knockout loss to uber-talented welterweight Jaron Ennis, but the change in weight and opponent served him well.
In the run-up to Saturday’s fight, Figueroa emerged as an eloquent spokesperson for people struggling with mental health issues after he was diagnosed with his own set of mental health concerns. In the ring afterward, Figueroa reflected on his career, on the limitations of his athletic abilities and on the birth of his daughter earlier in the day in announcing his retirement.
“I’m happy that I got to enjoy this last camp. I had a great time,” he said. “For everyone out there going through a tough time or in a dark place, I want to say, ‘don’t you ever give up. Keep up the fight.’”
-In an all-action affair, Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov produced one of the better and compelling fights of 2022, but it was Puello who made history for his country, becoming the first Dominican fighter to ever win a title at 140 pounds by claiming the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship in the co-main event by split decision. The judges Benoit Roussel and Mark Streisand both scored the bout 117-111 for Puello, while Lisa Giampa awarded Akhmedov’s aggression with a scorecard of 115-113.
Puello (21-0, 10 KOs) was able to handle the constant pressure of Akhmedov, who came up short for the second title fight of his career after he lost a decision to Mario Barrios in 2019. Puello was able to fight well off the ropes and answer the advances of Akhmedov (9-2, 8 KOs) with stinging combinations. Puello joined his countrymen Hector Garcia, who dethroned Roger Gutierrez for a 130-pound championship earlier in the evening, to produce arguably the greatest day in the history of Dominican boxing with two title winners. The two are good friends, both sharing the hometown of San Juan de la Maguana in the Dominican Republic.
Puello was the busier fighter, out-throwing his opponent by a margin of 825 to 764, but Akhmedov out-landed him 207-191 and had a 198-168 edge in power punches landed.
“This was the hardest fight of my life, but the one I prepared the most for,” Puello said in the ring. “I do feel a lot of emotions, and two Dominicans were crowned champions on the same night. This win means a lot to me. This is a big thing for us Dominicans because my friend Hector Garcia and I are bringing two titles back home. My hometown, San Juan de la Maguana has already started the party and they are waiting for Garcia and I to come back and join them.”
Garcia wins again:
-Earlier in the evening, Hector Garcia proved that his dominant win against Chris Colbert in February wasn’t a fluke.
Garcia, a former Olympian from the Dominican Republic, dictated the action and survived a late rally to wrest the WBA Super Featherweight World Championship from Roger Gutierrez via a unanimous decision by scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 118-110 from Alexander Levin, Michael Ross and Fred Fluty to remain undefeated at 16-0 with 10 KOs.
“It means a lot to me to win this title,” Garcia said. “I dedicate it to my people, the entire Dominican Republic and my town, San Juan de la Maguana. In the pros, nobody knew me. But in the amateurs, people knew my name. I went to the Olympics – it was my dream. I had a good run. [Gutierrez] was looking for the right punch to take me down, but I was able to dominate, dictate the pace of the fight and get the win.”
After beating the previously undefeated Colbert as a late replacement on two-weeks-notice on February 26 when Gutierrez withdrew because of COVID, a focused and strategic Garcia kept Gutierrez on his back foot for most of the fight as he fed the titleholder a steady diet of up-jabs and hard lefts to rack up the first nine rounds on all three scorecards.
But Gutierrez, his hair tinted green and his left ear cut and bloody, stormed back in the later rounds, winning the final three frames on two of the judges’ scorecards as the southpaw Garcia appeared to tire and was squaring himself up. Gutierrez (26-4-1, 20 KOs) pushed Garcia back with right hands, his energy and punch-output surging. He appeared to hurt Garcia in the 11th round with a right as Garcia sagged against the ropes, but Garcia answered with lefts and rights of his own to blunt the rally.
Garcia out-landed Gutierrez 156-116 in total punches and landed 35% of his power punches.
Lee overcomes adversity:
-In the telecast opener, the knockout artist Brandun Lee dealt with serious adversity for the first time in his career when he was dropped hard by a right hand in the third round. After rising and clearing the cobwebs, Lee relied on his boxing skills and savvy to capture his second straight 10-round decision against the tougher than expected Will Madera at a super lightweight bout waged at 143 pounds.
Despite the knockdown, Lee was otherwise dominant, winning by scores of 98-91 from the trio of judges Daniel Fitzgerald, Lisa Giampa and Mark Streisand to improve to 26-0 with 22 knockouts. Lee blamed overconfidence on getting caught in the third.
“I think I went in there a little too careless,” Lee said. “I told myself this guy has nothing to give me, but boy was I wrong. I lost focus and overlooked him for that split second. I was cautious in the first couple rounds, the first three until I got hit. I need to keep my left hand up and remain on my toes at all times. I’m not fighting tomato cans anymore, the dude was like No. 17 in the U.S. and has some experience. You can’t knock everyone out. I had to change the game plan. I went from moving forward to boxing. I got hit with a clean shot, but I kept on going. I recovered. Like I said before, death before dishonor.”
After bloodying Madera’s eye in the second round with a dagger of a right hand and left uppercut, the first time that Madera (17-2-3, 10 KOs) had ever been cut, Lee was caught by a picture-perfect counter overhand right that landed squarely on Lee’s chin, dropping the 23-year-old hard with around 20 seconds remaining in the third round, the first time in Lee’s career he touched the canvas. Lee of La Quinta, Calif. out-landed Madera 168-127 in total punches and threw 431 jabs to survive the scare and move on in his promising career.
Former world champions Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. and Sergey Lipinets will battle in a 12-round WBC Super Lightweight title eliminator headlining live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, August 20 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. in a Premier Boxing Champions Event.
Four-division world champion Adrien Broner pulled out of the previously scheduled match against Figueroa, citing personal issues in advance of the fight.
“Man, I’m going [through] a lot at this moment in my life, but I ain’t gonna give up. I set some more goals and I finish what I started but sorry to say this, but I’m not fighting August 20,” Broner said in an Instagram post. “Sorry to all my fans but Mental Health is real and I’m not about to play inside the ring … So, I have to step back and overcome this obstacle before I go put my life on the line inside the square circle again. I know I’m far from being finished with the sport SEE Y’ALL SOON.’’
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also feature top 140-pounders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov squaring off for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship in the co-main event and WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez defending his title against unbeaten Hector Garcia. In the telecast opener, Brandun Lee, one of the sport’s most exciting prospects and biggest punchers, will take on Will Madera in a 10-round super lightweight bout opening a loaded four-fight telecast that begins live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The 32-year-old Figueroa (28-2-1, 19 KOs) is from a fighting family along with his younger brother Brandon, a former super bantamweight world champion. Figueroa won the WBC Lightweight World Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Nihito Arakawa in a 2013 “Fight of the Year” and successfully defended the title two times before moving up to super lightweight in 2015. Figueroa has also fought at welterweight, earning action-packed victories over Robert Guerrero, John Molina Jr., and Antonio DeMarco. He’ll move back down to super lightweight on August 20 after back-to-back defeats against Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos. His match against Lipinets is a classic crossroads fight.
“This is going to be a great fight against Lipinets and I hope he’s ready for what I’m bringing,” said Figueroa. “I’ve made changes in my life and I’m excited to see the kind of fighter that I am now. I’m going to show what I can do now that I have a clear head and a clear path ahead of me. With the opponent change I’m even more ready to take all the frustrations and anger that have built up in camp and bring it into the ring on Saturday and come out victorious.”
Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) has been in training and was already scheduled to appear on the August 20 card before being elevated as a replacement for Broner in the main event. Born in Martuk, Kazakhstan and now living in Woodland Hills, Calif., Lipinets is no stranger to the main stage, having tangled with champions including Lamont Peterson and Mikey Garcia. The 33-year-old defeated Akhiro Kondo for the IBF super lightweight title in 2017 and lost the title to Garcia by unanimous decision in 2018. He is coming off a loss to Jaron Ennis in a welterweight title in April 2021.
“We’ve actually been in camp for almost three months getting ready for whoever they put in front of me,” said Lipinets. “We’ve been training with no particular opponent in mind. There have been a few different guys that have said they wanted to fight me. So, we’ve been sparring with and preparing for all types of styles. And now we get this great news that I get to fight Figueroa this Saturday. I can’t wait to show everyone that I’m still a force to be reckoned with at 140 pounds.”
Additionally, SHOWTIME SPORTS will offer live streaming coverage of unbeaten Cuban heavyweight standout Lenier Peró battling Joel Caudle in an eight-round bout and undefeated middleweight Fiodor Czerkaszyn taking on Gilbert Venegas Jr. in an eight-round duel via the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page prior to the start of the televised quadrupleheader. The streaming show begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and will be called by SHOBOX® analyst and MORNING KOMBAT host Brian Campbell alongside former unified welterweight world champion Keith “One Time” Thurman joining as guest analyst.
Jaron “Boots” Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs) finally got his big test on Saturday night, and he passed it with flying colors. Ennis scored a sixth-round knockout win over former world champion Sergey Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) in the main event from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.(Showtime)
Before the stoppage, Ennis was in complete control and dropped Lipinets in the fourth round. It was Lipinets’ second time being knocked down in his career. As he has done often throughout his career, the 23-year-old switched effortlessly between an orthodox and southpaw stance and exhibited tremendous power from both sides.
“I’ll always be hard on myself when I look back at my performance,” said Ennis. “My goal is to keep getting better, sharper, faster, and stronger so I can become world champion. As long as I keep fighting top guys, I’m happy. I feel like I will be world champion by the end of this year or beginning of next year. Patience is the key, though.”
In the sixth round, Ennis poured it on Lipinets from all angles as he beautifully assembled combinations. He has yet to go past the sixth round in his professional career and registered in 17th consecutive stoppage victory.
“I think I graduated tonight,” stated Ennis. “It’s on the up and up now. It’s onto bigger and better fights now.”
Ennis is a dangerous fighter, and because of that, he will have a difficult time getting the top guys at 147 in the ring. At this point, Ennis is high risk, low reward, so he’s going to have to keep beating guys until he becomes a mandatory challenger for one of the belts, so while some believe he’s ready for a title shot now, don’t be surprised if it does not happen in 2021.
Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Undefeated rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis(26-0, 24 KOs) has been the talk of the boxing world. Ennis clearly has a lot of talent and a lot of ability, which will be tested on Saturday night when he faces former world champion Sergey Lipinets(16-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round welterweight clash at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.(Showtime)
Despite Lipinets being a former world champion, the 23-year-old Ennis, who has a 16-fight knockout streak, is not concerned.
“I’m not worried about what Lipinets is talking about,” he said. “At the end of the day, he still has to get in the ring with me on Saturday night. And we’re going to see. They don’t know what I’m going to bring. I’m an all-around fighter. You don’t know how I’m going to fight. I can fight several different ways. He just needs to know he’s gotta be ready.”
According to Ennis, Lipinets is the type of opponent he’s been waiting to fight for a long time.
“I’ve been trying to get these types of guys in the ring for about two-and-a-half years,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get former world champions and top ten guys. It just didn’t happen. I finally got my chance, and you guys are going to see a whole different animal. A whole different beast. It’s time for me to do my thing. I’m real excited.”
If he gets by Lipinets, which he believes he will, Ennis wants the big boys at 147 pounds.
“After I do my thing on Saturday night and I do it with a big statement, it’s only up from there,” he said. “On to bigger and better things. The elite fighters and the top three guys and then maybe a world title by the end of the year. This fight is just going to elevate my ranking, my superstardom, and it will be the start of me being a pay-per-view star.
Look, Ennis appears to have the goods, and if he looks spectacular on Saturday night, he might have a difficult time getting the big names in the ring, but he can worry about that later. Lipinets should test him, and we’ll see if Ennis can ace it.
Undefeated welterweight Jaron “Boots” Ennis will look to cement his status as a rising star in the welterweight division when he takes on rugged former world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round battle that headlines action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, April 10 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The 23-year-old Ennis will be facing the toughest competition of his career in Lipinets, as he enters the ring in his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event. Representing the fighting city of Philadelphia, Ennis has used sublime boxing skills and power in both hands to make his claim as the city’s next great champion.
Ennis put together a 16-fight knockout streak that included becoming the first person to stop Juan Carlos Abreu when he blasted out the longtime challenger in the sixth round in August 2020. Ennis was unable to extend that streak in December 2020, when his fight against Chris van Heerden was declared a no-contest after round one due to a clash of heads causing a severe cut on Van Heerden’s forehead.
Trained by his father Bozy Ennis, Ennis shared his thoughts on training camp, Lipinets and more below:
On headlining his first Showtime Championship Boxing card:
“It has made my schedule a little crazier. Being in the main event on SHOWTIME brings more attention, but I like it. I like being in the spotlight. I like to shine, so it’s nothing new to me. Now it’s fight time. I am locked in and ready to rock and roll.”
On training camp:
“We always do four-minute rounds in camp. I’ve been doing that since I was a baby. That’s another reason why I don’t sit down when I fight, because I am so used to the four-minute rounds. The three-minute rounds go by real fast on fight night. One thing we added this camp was the underwater treadmill work.”
On his final preparations:
“The week before the fight, we are winding it down and sharpening up. It’s been a great training camp. I have been getting better and better each and every day, and I can’t wait to perform next Saturday.”
On facing his first former world champion:
“He’s a good fighter, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s just another day in the office. He’s a regular person just like anyone else.”
On Sergey calling him a ‘typical Philly fighter’:
“I guess he knows I’m tough, gritty and I’m ready to rumble. I’m coming there to take a win home to Philadelphia and look good doing it, by any means.”
On his knockout power:
“I don’t think I have my man strength yet. I feel it will be one or two more years until I fully have my man strength. The crazy part is, I feel like in a fight, I still haven’t thrown a real power shot and really sat down on a punch yet. Everything I’ve been knocking guys out with has been all natural strength.”
On how he views his knockout streak:
“Some people might look at a knockout on April 10 as the 17th consecutive knockout, some might view it as the start of a new knockout streak. For me, I don’t really care as long as I come out victorious. That’s all that matters to me. I’m not looking for a knockout but I’m going to take it if it comes.”
Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Rising welterweight star Jaron “Boots” Ennis faces his most difficult test in pursuit of a world title shot as he headlines his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® against former world champion Sergey Lipinets. These formidable contenders meet in a 12-round, crossroads fight with welterweight world title implications on Saturday, April 10 live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature, a pair of hard-hitting welterweights square off as Eimantas Stanionis takes another step up in class as he faces former world title challenger Thomas Dulorme in a 12-round WBA Welterweight Title Eliminator. The telecast opener features IBF Junior Bantamweight World Champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas defending his title against Jonathan Rodríguez in a 12-round bout.
Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs) is the latest in the pantheon of outstanding Philadelphia fighters, combining sublime boxing skills with natural power in both hands. After numerous appearances on ShoBox: The New Generation, the 23-year-old Ennis has graduated to headlining his first SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast. Heading into his last bout against Chris van Heerden, Ennis was riding a streak of 16 consecutive knockouts. That streak ended when the fight was stopped after the first round due to an accidental clash of heads that opened a severe cut on the forehead of Van Heerden.
“I’m excited to be back April 10,” said Ennis. “This is the type of fight I’ve been waiting for. I can’t wait to perform and put on a beautiful show. Y’all will see something special out of me come fight night. I’m excited to be the main event. It’s time for me to shine!”
The 31-year-old Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KOs) established himself as a force at 140 pounds when he won the IBF world title with a victory over Akihiro Kondo in 2017. He lost the title to four-division world champion Mikey Garcia in 2018 and then moved up to welterweight in 2019. He served notice that he would be a contender at welterweight when he scored an impressive stoppage victory over two-division champion Lamont Peterson in 2019. Born in Kazakhstan and representing Russia, Lipinets now lives in Woodland Hills, California and is trained by renowned trainer Joe Goossen. Lipinets is coming off a hard-fought majority draw against undefeated Custio Clayton in October 2020.
Stanionis (12-0, 9 KOs) has put together a string of impressive victories as he has climbed up the ranks from prospect to contender. He enters the match against Dulorme with four consecutive knockout victories. The 26-year-old from Lithuania, who now lives and trains in California, looked impressive as he picked up three solid victories in 2019, beating Samuel Figueroa via unanimous decision and scoring early stoppages against Julio Cesar Sanchez and Evincii Dixon. The undefeated welterweight has put the division on notice with back-to-back dominating main event performances in November and December 2020, when he notched ninth-round knockouts over Justin DeLoach and Janer Gonzalez respectively.
The 31-year-old Dulorme (25-4-1, 16 KOs) has amassed a solid resume at 140 and 147 pounds during his career, climbing into the ring with world champions Yordenis Ugas, Jessie Vargas and Terence Crawford. Born in Marigot, Guadeloupe but fighting out of and representing Carolina, Puerto Rico, Dulorme rebounded from a loss to Crawford for a 140-pound title by scoring back-to-back knockouts, followed by a narrow decision loss to top welterweight Yordenis Ugas. The world title challenger is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Jamal James in his last fight in August.
“I’m very excited for this fight on April 10,” said Dulorme. “I came up short in my last fight for the title, but a win against Stanionis will put me right back into the position I want. He’s young and strong, but I have a lot more experience and I will show it in the ring and it will lead me to victory.”
Representing the Philippines, Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KOs) was only 15 years old when he was spotted by boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. The young fighter blossomed with Pacquiao’s guidance, becoming the first world champion under Pacquiao’s promotional banner when he outpointed McJoe Arroyo for the IBF World Junior Bantamweight title in September 2016. The 29-year-old southpaw hasn’t lost since and will be making the ninth defense of his title when he faces Rodríguez. In his most recent outing in December, Ancajas stopped Miguel Gonzalez in six rounds.
“I am really looking forward to returning to the ring on April 10 for my first fight on SHOWTIME,” said Ancajas. “Everybody knows the great rivalry between the Philippines and Mexico, and I look forward to adding another explosive fight to that history. Fight fans know where all the action fights are right now, and that’s the 115-pound division. I’m thankful for this opportunity and I plan to make the most of it.”
Mexico’s Rodríguez (22-1, 16 KOs) was given the nickname “Titan” because of his prodigious power. Since suffering a disputed split-decision loss to Jose Martin Estrada Garcia in March 2018, the 25-year-old has won six straight, including a first-round knockout victory over Julian Yedras last December. He will be making his U.S. debut against Ancajas.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me,” said Rodríguez. “When I started boxing, it was my dream to fight for the world title and win it. On April 10, all of my dreams and hard work will come true when I hear ‘and the new IBF champion of the world.’”
Former world champion Sergey Lipinets and unbeaten Custio Clayton fought to a majority draw Saturday night in a welterweight clash headlining action live on SHOWTIME® from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KOs) and Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KOs) each added the first draw of their professional careers in the 12-round SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION battle for the Interim IBF Welterweight Title. One judge scored the fight 115-113 for Clayton, but was overruled by the two judges who scored the bout a 114-114 draw. (Round six video highlights here: https://twitter.com/ShowtimeBoxing/status/1320209815503839234?s=20)
“I thought I won the fight, but Clayton is a good fighter,” said Lipinets. “He was stronger than I thought he’d be. I haven’t fought in a year and it shows. I need to get my rhythm back in a couple of fights before I face the top level fighters.”
“At the end of the day, you can’t knock the judges’ decision, but I thought that I landed the cleaner shots and won,” said Clayton. “He came forward a lot, but he wasn’t landing as much. I probably could have pushed more a little earlier, but at the same time, I knew he was strong. I thought I stayed patient and poised. I could have put combinations together quicker, but overall I thought I fought a smart fight and pulled it off.”
The fight was defined by the Russian Lipinets’ blistering body attack against the precision of the Canadian Olympian Clayton’s jab. According to CompuBox, Lipinets out landed Clayton to the body by an 80 to 29 tally, while Clayton had the superior jab to the tune of 135 landed compared to 68 from Lipinets.
Clayton was able to stymie the powerful Lipinets for much of the fight with his movement and that jab, but never put together the offensive arsenal to discourage Lipinets from coming forward. Clayton won the final three rounds on all of the judges’ cards to earn the draw.
“I showed the world that I’m not just a guy from Canada,” said Clayton. “I proved I’m a good fighter. People will have to respect me a little bit more. If Lipinets wants the rematch for the interim title, we should be able to make that happen.”
“For the interim title, I’ll be ready for a rematch with Clayton,” added Lipinets.
In the co-main event, unbeaten contender Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs) survived two knockdowns to win a unanimous decision over Claudio Marrero (24-5, 17 KOs) in their WBA Super Featherweight Title Eliminator. After 12 rounds, all three judges scored the fight for Martinez, by scores of 115-111 and 114-112 twice. (Video highlights here: https://twitter.com/ShowtimeBoxing/status/1320198274733715457?s=20
“Not every win is going to be pretty and a knockout, but if you can pull yourself out of tough situations, it proves what type of fighter you are,” said Martinez. “I knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. I told [trainer] Ray [Woods] I might hit this guy a couple of times and he might not drop. It’s all part of the experience.”
The fight featured ebbs and flows, with each man seemingly in control at different times throughout. Sacramento’s Martinez flashed impressive combination punching, punctuating many attacks with a left hook that slowly closed Marrero’s right eye. Representing his native Dominican Republic, Marrero actually held the statistical edge in the fight, out landing Martinez 161 to 128.
Marrero seemed to change the tide of the fight in round eight, landing a powerful right hook to the head that dropped Martinez in the first minute of the frame. Marrero followed up with a flurry finished off by a right hook that again dropped Martinez. Despite the two knockdowns, Martinez was able to survive the rest of the round and avoid the hard-charging Marrero.
“To be honest, it was weird when I got knocked down,” said Martinez. “I just said, ‘Let’s get back up.’ Losing wasn’t on my mind. I just thought I have to get up. I’m not happy I went down but it’s all an experience. A lot of guys wouldn’t have fought Claudio. He was tough. But I rose to the occasion and I proved something to myself.”
Although he was fighting past the eighth round for the first time in his career, Martinez was able to regain his momentum through the championship rounds to clinch the victory.
“I feel like it was a bad decision,” said Marrero. “I don’t think the judges took into account all the hard work I did in the ring. I wouldn’t do anything different if I fought him again. I would fight the same way. I fought smart and I put pressure on him.He hits hard, but I recovered quickly. I felt like I won the fight.”
“I have the will to win,” said Martinez. “I just didn’t want to lose. I trained very hard for this fight, and I wasn’t going to go out like that. I wanted to show everyone that even though I got dropped, I could come back and win it. Some young fighters will fold, but I showed that I won’t. I’m proud of myself.”
In the telecast opener, super lightweight contender Subriel Matias (16-1, 16 KOs) scored a TKO victory over Malik Hawkins (18-1, 11 KOs) after six rounds of action. The fight was stopped on the recommendation of the ringside physician prior to the start of the seventh round and is officially scored a TKO one second into the seventh. (Video highlights here: https://twitter.com/ShowtimeBoxing/status/1320182196079071232?s=20)
“The biggest difference between this fight and my loss was the way I trained in the gym,” said Puerto Rico’s Matias. “I didn’t train as much as I should have for my last fight. Malik didn’t have the power to hurt me. In the first round, I knew that. And that’s when I kept moving forward and starting hurting him in the body. That’s what I kept doing, just going to the body.”
After Baltimore’s Hawkins won the first round on all three judges’ cards, Matias began to outwork his opponent and consistently land his left hook to the head and body. In round six, Matias knocked down a fading Hawkins with that hook, the first time Hawkins had been down in his career.
Matias was the busier fighter from rounds two through six, landing 137 punches to Hawkins’ 94. His left hook also helped him to a 122 to 70 advantage in power punches landed, while swelling the right eye of Hawkins that would lead to the end of the fight. Matias led by the score of 59-54 on all three judges’ cards at the time of the stoppage.
“He was doing a bunch of dirty things in the fight,” said Hawkins. “I’m not going to sit here and cry over spilled milk. He was the better man tonight. I’m getting right back into the gym.”
“I’ll fight anyone,” said Matias. “Whoever they put in front of me, it doesn’t matter. I want a title eliminator, and then I want to fight for a world title.”
Photo: Amanda Westscott
Even with a change in date and then opponent, former world champion Sergey Lipinets remains supremely confident in his training camp and overall preparations as he prepares to take on unbeaten Custio Clayton for the Interim IBF Welterweight Title live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, October 24 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
“We never missed a beat in preparation, even with the opponent change,” said Lipinets. “My fight with Kudratillo Abdukakhorov was on and off for so long that I already had an idea that he was going to be forced to back out, so I wasn’t shocked. I don’t really care, though. Whoever I have to fight I’m ready to fight, so I didn’t consider backing out of fighting for even one second.”
Lipinets credits his trainer, the renowned Joe Goossen, for helping his fighter mentally through the changes, in addition to the physical training they have undertook heading into the fight.
“Having Joe Goossen is like having a psychiatrist as well as a trainer,” said Lipinets. “He’s been extremely helpful about how to approach all of this. Joe helped me stay calm and understand that something good can always come from a bad or difficult situation, and because of that, I never lost focus.”
Clayton is a Canadian Olympian with an unblemished pro resume heading into this showdown. While Lipinets notes that there are differences in the fighting styles between Abdukakhorov and Clayton, none of it changes his intent on October 24.
“I know that Clayton has a great amateur background,” said Lipinets. “I’ve checked out his style, and the main difference is that Abdukakhorov is more active and Clayton is more accurate. Abdukakhorov is also a little more aggressive and Clayton is more patient.
“I don’t think one is tougher or easier than the other. I think that anyone fighting at this level is a difficult opponent. Abdukakhorov moves around more and can be more awkward with the different styles he uses. Both are very tough guys, but I’m ready for Clayton and focused only on him at this point.”
Despite his sole focus on Clayton, Lipinets knows that this fight brings a big opportunity to make a loud proclamation to the rest of the stacked welterweight division with a big performance to capture the interim IBF title.
“I’m prepared to make one statement – I belong here,” said Lipinets. “I want to fight the best. I want to make my imprint on this sport and build my legacy. I’ve had to do it the hard way, but I’m not complaining. I fought for my first championship in just my 13th pro fight. I believe that I belong right there at the top of this sport. People need to start mentioning my name with the top guys and after this fight they’ll have to. You can’t look past me anymore.”
Two-division world champion Lamont Peterson takes on former junior welterweight world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round welterweight match that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes on Sunday, March 24 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Coverage on FS1 and FOX Deportes begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features
Anthony Peterson, Lamont’s brother, battling former junior lightweight world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round junior welterweight bout that serves as the co-main event.
The Peterson brothers are an inspirational duo that rose from poverty and homelessness in Washington D.C. as children to become professional boxers and reach an elite level in the sport. They will be fighting as the main and co-main event in nationally televised bouts for the first time since 2006 and will look to put on a show for fans just outside of their hometown.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and HeadBangers Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.mgmnationalharbor.com/.
Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) has battled some of the top names in the sport at 140 and 147-pounds in climbing through the ranks and winning titles in both divisions while facing the likes of Victor Ortiz, Timothy Bradley, Jr., Amir Khan, Kendall Holt, Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia and Errol Spence, Jr. The 35-year-old from Washington D.C. won the IBF and WBA 140-pound titles with a split decision victory over Khan in 2011 and won the welterweight championship with a unanimous decision over David Avanesyan in 2017. Peterson is looking to rebound from a loss to Spence in a welterweight title fight last January.
“I’m happy to be doing what I love and that is fighting,” said Lamont Peterson. “I’m really excited about having the chance to fight at home once again and also on FS1 and FOX Deportes for the first time. I plan on giving fans on TV and in the arena the show they came to see.”
Lipinets (14-1, 10 KOs) has moved up to the welterweight division after previously becoming a world champion at 140 pounds. The 29-year-old, who is from Kazakhstan, grew up in Russia and now lives in Beverly Hills, California, picked up the IBF super lightweight world title with a unanimous decision victory over Akihiro Kondo in 2017. He lost the title by decision to Mikey Garcia last March and rebounded to defeat Erick Bone in his welterweight debut.
Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Mikey Garcia becomes a four-division champion after beating Sergey Lipinets by unanimous decision last night in San Antonio to capture the IBF junior welterweight title.
With the victory, Garcia (38-0, 30 KOs) joined Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as the only fighters in history to win titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140 pounds.
“It’s a great feeling. Winning this fourth title in a fourth division is an honor,” Garcia said. “To get to be mentioned with Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is a huge honor for me. It just leaves a little chapter in boxing with my name, my brother, my dad. I think people will remember the Garcia family for ages to come.”
Garcia, who was fighting for just the second time at 140 pounds, relied on a steady diet of combos to back up Lipinets, who was making the first defense of the IBF title he won last November on SHOWTIME. Garcia floored Lipinets for the first time in his career, connecting on a counter left hook midway through the seventh in a rousing moment that sent the pro-Garcia crowd at Freeman Colisuem to their feet.
Garcia, who won by scores of 116-111 and 117-110 twice, connected on 46 percent of his power shots compared to 36 percent for the defending champion.
“He came in exactly as I expected – a very tough, very hungry and strong fighter,” Garcia said. “We worked with angles behind the jab. He’s very dangerous, but we had a great game plan and we were able to prevail.
“I know I carry the power, but I was fighting a bigger man and he could take a punch. I didn’t want to get caught and I had to be patient.”
After the fight, Garcia, who still holds the WBC title at lightweight, reiterated his mantra that he’s seeking the biggest fights available, regardless of weight division.
“What I love is I have all the options,” Garcia said. “I could go down to 135 to unify titles, which is what I really want to do. And in a couple of fights you’re going to see me at 147.
Photos: Amanda Westcott/Showtime
Here’s how it looked: