With Terence Crawford vacating his IBF 140-pound title, the IBF has ordered their leading available contenders, Sergey Lipinets and Akihiro Kondo, to face off for the title, with both saying in writing that they’re willing to make the fight happen.
Teams are expected to begin negotiations immediately, with September 30 the deadline before a purse bid is ordered by the sanctioning body.
Lipinets (12-0, 10 KO) is a highly-touted prospect, a former kickboxer who turned pro in boxing in 2014 and has scored some solid wins over Lydell Rhodes, Levan Ghvamichava, and Lenny Zappavigna. He most recently fought in March, stopping Clarence Booth in the seventh round in Brooklyn.
Kondo (29-6-1, 16 KO) is ranked No. 3 by the IBF, but isn’t really a serious contender in the division. At 32, he’s fought only one 12-round fight in his career, a TKO-11 win over Jeffrey Arienza last September, and mostly sticks to eight-round bouts. He’s been a pro since 2006, and has no real notable wins on his record. For reference, BoxRec ranks him No. 40 in the world at the weight. In other words, on paper, he’s not a step up for Lipinets.