Sergey Lipinets went from fighting in the streets of Russia to a world boxing champion. He hopes a win against Jaron Ennis can put him back on top.
Most boxers come from humble beginnings, and Sergey Lipinets is no different.
He has come a long way since his origins as a street tough and kickboxer. He has been a world champion but finds himself as an underdog headed into his Saturday, April 10 bout against undefeated boxer Jaron Ennis. Lipinets is used to fighting the odds and coming out on top.
When he was 11 years old, Lipinets and his family moved from Kazakhstan to a Russian town near Moscow. Conditions in Lipinets neighborhood were rough and forced him to prove himself through combat.
“It’s always tough when you grow up in a little city,” Lipinets told FanSided through a translator. “It’s always a bigger guy, picks on a small guy. So it’s all sort of a struggle for survival. It’s a fight for your life. It wasn’t easy, but it did make me the man I am right now.”
Lipinets’s street fighting prowess and natural skills made him a force to be reckoned with in his town’s streets. He also used to train himself to fight, which caught the attention of a local fight trainer.
“When I was a kid, I started making those makeshift punching bags,” said Lipinets. “I was hanging the plastic bottles with the water and trying to kick them with my feet. People saw me doing that, and I was always constantly fighting on the street. My aggression would be transformed right there in the streets.
“A local trainer saw me doing that. He said, ‘Listen, why don’t you just come to the gym, and we’ll get you right.’”
Jaron Ennis vs. Sergey Lipinets is the main event on Saturday, April 10, on Showtime. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET.
That started Lipinets’s formal martial arts training. By the age of 24, Lipinets won numerous kickboxing titles and medals at world-level competitions. Lipinets found success, but it wasn’t translating to wealth.
“I was the one that actually switched him over from kickboxing for boxing,” said Alex Vaysfeld, Lipinets’s manager and translator. “The main thing was that he never made money doing kickboxing.”
Lipinets achieved a lot as a kickboxer, but there wasn’t too much left to conquer in that sport. He switched his focus to boxing, wrapped up a quick amateur record of 35-5, and turned professional in 2014 at 25 years old.
Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KOs) came to boxing late but had skills with his hands from his days as a kickboxer. Vaysfeld stated that most of Lipinets’s kickboxing KO’s came from his hands. That’s not surprising, considering that Lipinets currently has a 66 percent KO rating as a boxer.
Lipinets has attained many accolades as a boxer in a short period of time. He defeated Akihiro Kondo in 2017 to win the vacant IBF junior welterweight title. He lost it in his next bout to Mikey Garcia for his lone defeat.
Since then, he has won three fights and fought Custio Clayton to a draw in his last contest in October. Clayton was a former Olympian, but Ennis might be the most threatening welterweight right now. His knockout power and skillful ability to fight from orthodox and southpaw stances make him a puzzle to figure out. So far, no one has come close to figuring that puzzle out.
Most betting lines have Lipinets around an 8-1 underdog, according to OddsShark.com. Ennis is confident head into his bout with Lipinets and plans to take over the welterweight division. Lipinets feels like Ennis is getting ahead of himself and is motivated to prove himself in this fight.
“It does motivate me in a way,” said Lipinets. “It’s on him. He wants to say things. He is confident. Whatever it is, he’s putting that burden on him. Back home, we don’t talk much. We just do things the way we taught how to do them. That’s all there is to it.”
The time for talk is over. Lipinets has been a champion before, but a win against Ennis might mean more than owning a belt at the moment. It would mean that Lipinets is better than anyone ever thought he could be.