New Faces: Sergey Lipinets
Hometown: Martuk, Kazakhstan
Weight class: Junior welterweight
Height/reach: 5-foot-7 (170 cm) / 67 inches (170 cm)
Amateur record: 35-5
Turned pro: 2014
Pro record: 10-0, (8 knockouts)
Trainer: Buddy McGirt
Manager: Alex Vaysfeld and Alex Mezherovsky
Promoter: No promoter
Best night of pro career: Lipinets is most pleased with his unanimous decision win over the then unbeaten Haskell Rhodes last October.
“I was the guy with only six fights and coming in against the guy with 23 fights that was already on the map,” Lipinets told RingTV.com through his co-manager Alex Vaysfeld.
“[He was a] very difficult fighter that was moving a lot, but I still managed not only beat him but also made it an exiting fight which is almost impossible against the guy like that. At the end of the fight the whole arena was cheering for me.”
Worst night of pro career: In his pro debut the Kazahkstan-born fighter was taken the six-round distance by 35 fight veteran Franklin Varela.
“Every fight I had was a learning experience,” he explained. “I think my very first fight, I fought a guy with a lot of experience and he kept on hitting me low every time I would hurt him. The ref wouldn’t do anything.”
Next fight: Lipinets faces Lenny Zappavigna on the undercard of Showtime’s double feature of Jermall Charlo-Julian Williams and Jesus Cuellar-Abner Mares, Saturday at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles.
The meeting will decide who is the mandatory challenger for the IBF 140-pound title.
Zappavigna, 29, from Australia is a 10-year pro, who has fought mostly at home, though this will be his sixth fight on American soil. He sports a record of 35-2 (25 KOs) and is unbeaten in five years, since losing twice consecutively, once in an IBF lightweight title fight to Miguel Vazquez. “Zappa” has won his last 10 fights, scoring an impressive sixth-round stoppage over Ik Yang last time out.
Why he’s a prospect: Lipinets didn’t come to the pros with a big amateur background like others from the former Soviet Union countries. He never fought at any of the big tournaments, though does have a kickboxing background.
“Amateur [boxing] wasn’t my cup of tea because of the style of boxing, big gloves and head gear,” he said.
The Los Angeles-based Kazakh has sparred with many top fighters around his weight class since migrating from the east coast. He has worked with, amongst others, Ray Beltran, Mike Perez, Miguel Vazquez and Victor Ortiz.
It is clear Lipinets is heavy-handed and has a fan-friendly style, however, he feels his biggest strength is his mind set.
Currently, he’s only ranked in the top 15 by one of the sanctioning bodies; the IBF have him at No. 8. He is rated at No. 19 by the WBC.
Former two-weight world champion come trainer Buddy McGirt is quick to laud Lipinets ability.
“Sergey is an unbelievable athlete,” said McGirt. “His work output is incredible and he listens to everything I tell him then executes in the ring.”
Why he’s a suspect: There appears no obvious weakness in his game, as his offensive style has so far been too much for his opponents. However, how he would deal with someone slick, who uses movement, remains to be seen.
Lipinets is pleased with how things are going at this point, believing he can improve in all areas.
“I need to learn a lot and I’m doing that with every fight and every camp,” he explained. “I have great trainer, we have incredible chemistry with and support of my managers.”
McGirt says his charge is a work in progress: “We need to work more on his jab, distance and head movement.”
Story lines: Lipinets youth was tough. His mother supported him and moved the family from Kazakhstan to Russia when he was nine years old. He got into a lot of fights at school and also on the streets.
Initially, he practiced kickboxing before finding he was more suited to boxing and so made the transition.
His manager Alex Vaysfeld had followed Lipinets for a long time and made a move to sign the fighter: “We were following Sergey [as an] amateur and kickboxing career and when he decided that he was gonna turn pro we collectively, with his trainer from the amateurs, decided to launch his journey as a pro.”
He has a wife and young baby. Away from boxing he likes to visit museums and play chess.
April 25 – Franklin Varela – UD 6
May 30 – Dzemil Cosovic – KO 4
July 18 – Rynell Griffin – KO 3
Sept. 27 – Daniel Lomeli – TKO 7
Nov. 28 – Ernie Sanchez – KO 8
March 3 – Cosme Rivera – TKO 9
July 8 – Kendal Mena – TKO 3
Oct. 30 – Haskell Rhodes – UD 10
March 15 – Levan Ghvamichava – KO 5
July 15 – Walter Castillo – TKO 7
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