By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – The press conference Wednesday was all about the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz heavyweight title fight November 4 at Barclays Center.
Sergey Lipinets’ name wasn’t mentioned, but BoxingScene.com has learned Lipinets will fight Japan’s Akihiro Kondo for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title that night as part of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader.
Lipinets, meanwhile, will fight for the IBF 140-pound championship Terence Crawford gave up following his third-round knockout of Julius Indongo on August 19 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Representatives for Kazakhstan’s Lipinets, the IBF’s mandatory challenger, tried to prevent Indongo from defending his IBF title against Crawford, but the New Jersey-based IBF granted Indongo an exception to participate in the first full title unification fight in any division since December 2005.
Omaha, Nebraska’s Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), then the WBC and WBO champion, also won the IBO and WBA 140-pound championships from Namibia’s Indongo (22-1, 11 KOs).
The 28-year-old Lipinets (12-0, 10 KOs), who resides in Beverly Hills, California, is rated No. 1 in the IBF’s 140-pound rankings. The hard-hitting Lipinets is heavily favored to win the vacant championship.
The 32-year-old Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KOs) has won eight straight fights, but hasn’t beaten a top 140-pound contender during his career. The Tokyo resident will fight outside of Japan for the first time when he faces Lipinets.
Kondo is ranked No. 3 by the IBF, but the No. 2 spot in its 140-pound ratings isn’t occupied. Last month, the IBF ordered Lipinets and Kondo to come to an agreement by the end of this month for their mandated match.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.