By Arvin Nundloll at ringside
Photos: Emily Harney
Unbeaten Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) scored a twelve round unanimous decision over Akihiro Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KOs) to claim the vacant IBF junior welterweight world championship formerly held by Terence Crawford, who has moved to welterweight.
The opening rounds saw both men try to control the center of the ring with Kondo willing to trade with Lipinets in order to find his counter-punching opportunities. The rounds following that remained fairly even, Lipinets pushed forward and controlled the pace of the fight while Kondo seemed content to wait for his time to lunge into a set of body combinations.
A clash of heads caused a cut above Lipinets left eye in the 6th round and continued to flow, blocking Lipinets’ vision at times during exchanges with Kondo. The later rounds saw little to separate the fighters as both went toe to toe with Lipinets emerging as the more accurate fighter in the exchanges. Kondo put up a valiant effort in the 12th rounds to pin Lipinets against the ropes and hurl blows towards him, bringing the crowd to beg for a KO.
After 12 rounds, the judges scored the fight 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111 to the new IBF Junior Welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets.