Sergey Lipinets claimed his first professional world title tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, beating Akihiro Kondo for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title by unanimous decision.
Official scores were 117-111, 117-111, and 118-110. BLH had the fight closer at 115-113 for Lipinets on two separate scorecards. The crowd pretty heavily booed the decision.
Lipinets (13-0, 10 KO) started with good body work early in the fight, but met some real aggression from Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KO), who was fighting outside of Japan for the first time in his career — actually, it was the first pro fight he’s ever had outside of the famed Korakuen Hall.
Kondo’s nose was bloodied in round two on an uppercut, but he stayed in the fight and notably hurt Lipinets in the fifth on a good right hand. Lipinets was cut in the sixth frame due to an accidental clash of heads, a gash that bled pretty heavily but was luckily not in a troublesome spot on his forehead.
Kondo kept grinding throughout the fight, while Lipinets did perhaps the flashier work. Lipinets outlanded Kondo according to SHO Stats, and he showed a nice second wind in the championship rounds, as the two both fought hard until the final bell.
It was an entertaining, competitive matchup to kick off the Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader. There’s work to be done if Lipinets is going to truly be an elite fighter, but he’s now in the mix at the highest levels of the 140-pound division.