Custio Clayton made a name for himself among American boxing fans by testing Sergey Lipinets in Lipinets’ last fight.
Canada’s Clayton, a late replacement for Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, nearly upset Lipinets in their 12-round fight for the IBF interim welterweight title October 24 in Uncasville, Connecticut. Clayton beat Lipinets, 115-113, according to judge Don Trella, but he settled for a majority draw because judges Glenn Feldman and Tom Schreck scored their encounter even, 114-114 apiece.
Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KOs) believes he won eight rounds against the unbeaten Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KOs), seven rounds at worst.
Regardless, the former IBF junior welterweight champion contends that he was hindered by a hamstring injury for most of their 12-round, 147-pound title fight at Mohegan Sun Arena. Kazakhstan’s Lipinets revealed during a recent virtual press conference to promote his fight against Jaron Ennis on Saturday night that he injured his left hamstring during the third round of that bout.
Favoring his left leg limited Lipinets’ mobility and made it difficult to deal with Clayton’s movement.
“I was injured in that fight,” Lipinets said. “I injured my hamstring in the third round, and it really made my ability to move a little harder. But it’s not an excuse. I’m just saying that if you look at Clayton’s fight prior to that fight, he was fighting coming forward, trying to take someone out, being first, engaging first. For some reason, with me he started moving, boxing and didn’t try to get me out of there.”
The 32-year-old Lipinets also feels a switch in opponents so close to their fight hurt his performance. Abdukakhorov (18-0, 10 KOs), an Uzbekistan native who resides in Malaysia, withdrew from his fight against Lipinets due to a visa issue.
The previously unknown Clayton, who was the IBF’s leading available contender, jumped at the opportunity to replace Abdukakhorov on approximately two weeks’ notice.
“Not looking for an excuse, but prior to that fight, we were in camp for almost a year,” Lipinets said. “They changed opponents on us continuously. It was one guy, and then another guy, and then another guy. Finally, real close to the fight they said, ‘This is the guy you’re fighting.’ I can’t say that Clayton [hits] less hard than Jaron does, or moves worse or better than Jaron does. He’s a good fighter. This is a fighter that you need a full camp to get ready for.”
Lipinets had a full camp to prepare for Philadelphia’s Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs, 1 NC), a highly touted welterweight who figures to take his toughest test to date in the main event of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT).
Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis (12-0, 9 KOs) and Puerto Rican veteran Thomas Dulorme (25-4-1, 16 KOs) are scheduled to meet in the 12-round co-feature, a WBA welterweight elimination match. The Philippines’ Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22 KOs) will defend his IBF junior bantamweight championship against Mexico’s Jonathan Rodriguez (22-1, 16 KOs), Ancajas’ mandatory challenger, in the opener of this three-bout broadcast.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.