Nobody was more relieved than Sergey Lipinets upon the news of his Showtime headliner being salvaged, twice over.
A new and a replacement opponent eventually came of the situation, but a win keeping the bruising Kazakhstani on path for what he has long craved—a clean shot at a welterweight title.
“It’s not like anyone is going to take a chance against me,” Lipinets (16-0, 12KOs) told BoxingScene.com of his clash with Nova Scotia’s Custio Clayton (18-0, 12KOs) this Saturday at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. “So, this is the route I had to take. The top welterweights won't fight me unless they're forced to."
“It was a little frustrating when they first said the show might be canceled, and that my original opponent couldn’t fight. But I’m glad they did everything they can to make this happen.”
Lipinets—who now lives in Woodland Hills, California—was originally due to face Kudratillo Adbukokhorov, whose visa issues first caused a two-week delay followed by his withdrawal altogether. The two were to have collided for an interim title, with the winner to be first in line for whomever prevails between unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence (26-0, 21KOs) and former two-division champ Danny Garcia (36-2, 21KOs) on December 5.
Those stakes remain in place, with Clayton—one of two opponents who was on standby for the event—accepting the opportunity to replace Abdukokhorov. With that, Lipinets keeps alive his dream of being in position to become a two-division titlist, having won three straight since his 140-pound title reign came to a close more than two years ago.
“I want to get that fight and that title,” Lipinets said of the opportunity to face the winner of Spence-Garcia sometime in 2021. “I have to feed my family. I want to get that title and to become the first-ever Russian fighter to become a two-division world champion.
“I want to fight, period. I want to show what I can do against the best welterweights. This is the only way to do that.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox