Mikey Garcia / Lipinets Postponed!
(January 17th) In boxing as in life “timing” is everything and this time, as it so often goes Oxnard, California’s former WBO Featherweight, WBO Super Featherweight and WBC Lightweight Champion Mikey Garcia will have to wait a bit little longer for a shot at a fourth world title in as many weight divisions.
The delay comes following reports that his February 10th challenge of IBF Light Welterweight Champion Sergey “Samurai” Lipinets will be postponed due to the Beverly Hills, California, based Kazakhstani champion having suffered a hand injury during training camp.
The 30-year-old, Garcia, 37-0, 30Ko’s claiming the WBC World Lightweight Title stopping Dejan Zlaticanin in three rounds January 2017 comes off a one sided twelve round shakedown of Ohio “Problem Child” Adrien Broner last July.
At age 28, Lipinets, 13-0, 10Ko’s won the vacant IBF Jr. Welterweight title out pointing Tokyo, Japan’s, Akihiro Kondo in his last bout November 4th on the undercard of the Deontay Wilder / Bermane Stiverne rematch at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Still up in the air is what will happen to the co-feature and undercard fights for the February 10th Showtime card at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. One possibility is the promotion of the attractive Rances Barthelemy vs Kiryl Relikh scheduled light welterweight semi-main event.
Barthelemy, 26-0, 13Ko’s and Kiryl Relikh, 21-2, 19Ko’s scheduled to face off in a rematch of their May meeting in which Barthelemy defeated Relikh in a controversial twelve round WBA eliminator bout. Barthelemy and Relikh would square off again, this time for the vacant WBA World Super Lightweight title vacated by Terrence Crawford after his August third round stoppage of then WBA Champion Julius Indongo.
Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer said at the time the injury not seen as a bad one he is working with Showtime and The Alamodome to reschedule the Showtime-televised event for a later date keeping the card in San Antonio allowing anyone with tickets to exchange them for the new event.
Rances Barthelemy &Kiryl Relikh Look Forward to Big 2018 Beginning Saturday, February 10th
When They Meet In Premier Boxing Champions
140lb World Championship Rematch Live on SHOWTIME From the Alamodome, San Antonio
(photo credit: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME)
(January 10th) Unbeaten two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy and former title challenger Kiryl Relikh will both look to kick off their new year with a world title victory when they meet in a rematch for a vacant 140-pound title Saturday, Feb. 10 live on SHOWTIME from the Alamodome in San Antonio in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT and will be headlined by three-division world champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) taking on unbeaten 140-pound world champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs).
"Obviously the number one goal for 2018 is to bring home that belt on February 10," said Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs). "Then I want to unify with all the other champions. My New Year's resolution is to surround myself with good people and win multiple world titles."
"First I have to win this fight in February," said Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs). "But then I have hopes of a great year defending my belt against the mandatory and eventually a unification fight. This will be the year I reach a new level in this sport."
Barthelemy and Relikh will fight for the WBA's vacant Super Lightweight World Title after their title eliminator bout in May ended in a debatable decision for Barthelemy. This time the fighters will look to leave no doubt with the full title on the line.
"This is my second time fighting for a world title and it will be a second lesson for me," said Relikh. "This is my time to become champion. I need to do much more during this fight.
"I have to be aggressive right from the start. I'm sure that I need a knockout to get the victory. He can try to run, but he won't be able to hide from me."
"Winning this title would be a dream come true for me," said Barthelemy. "I'd be the first Cuban fighter in history to win a title in three different divisions. The last fight was very close and deserving of a rematch.
"I just need to stick to my game plan and show everyone that I'm the best 140-pound fighter in the world. The key will be to stay disciplined and land hard shots all night."
Both fighters have sacrificed in training camp on the road to what they hope will be a celebratory moment on February 10, training hard through the holiday season to stay on target for fight night.
"My whole team has done a fantastic job so far in camp," said Barthelemy. "Ismael Salas and Joel Casamayor are giving me great tips and keeping me focused on my goal. One new thing I've added this camp is Bob Santos for nutrition and strength and conditioning. It's made a big difference over the holidays where I usually eat too much. He's kept me on a strict diet and training has never been better."
"These last few weeks through the holidays have been the hardest of my camp, so there was no room for distractions," said Relikh. "I spent New Year's with my family and then I was right back into training camp in the morning."
With two belts in the 140-pound division on the line in the same night, the winner between Barthelemy and Relikh will be in a great position to begin a path toward unification after February 10.
"I will have my eye on the main event for sure," said Relikh. "I'm focused on Barthelemy now, but I want to unify and if that means fighting Garcia or Lipinets, I will be ready."
"Garcia vs. Lipinets is going to be a great fight and I definitely want the winner," said Barthelemy. "Although Lipinets is the underdog going into this fight, I think he's going to give Garcia all he can handle. But I still think Garcia will come out on top, setting up war between us in a unification bout."
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, are priced at $250, $75, $50 and $20. Tickets will go on sale next week and will be available at Ticketmaster.com.
(December 18th) - Undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia and unbeaten IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion Sergey Lipinets squared off at a press conference in Los Angeles to discuss their Saturday, Feb. 10 Premier Boxing Champions showdown at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas LIVE on SHOWTIME (10:15 p.m. ET/PT).
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING coverage will also feature two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy in a rematch against Kiryl Relikh for the vacant WBA 140-pound world title.
Lipinets will be making the first defense of his world title while Garcia looks to become only the third fighter in modern history to become a champion at 126, 130, 135 and 140-pounds, joining future Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao*.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Monday from the Conga Room at L.A. Live:
“A world champion like Sergey Lipinets is more exciting an opponent for me than an easy title defense. I wanted a challenge and this man presents that. He’s a bigger man naturally. He’s going to be very hungry and motivated. He knows a victory over me launches his career to the top. That’s going to make this an interesting fight.
“To win a world title in a fourth division is a big deal to me. My dad always wanted a three-division world champion, and now I have a chance to give him a fourth title. That’s something that really excites me.
“It’s been a great return to boxing since my layoff. When I came back, I wanted to move fast and take on big challenges. That’s what we’ve been doing so far. I want to take on any challenges that people think I can’t achieve. I think slowly we’re proving to everyone that I’m better than ever and I’m going to keep taking on the kinds of fights that will cement my legacy.
“It would be a great accomplishment to be in the discussion with guys like Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, that would be a win in itself. But it wasn’t on my mind when taking this fight. I just want to keep fighting the best out there. There’s still more for me to accomplish until I’m on the same level as Pacquiao and Marquez.
“It’s going to be a great fight. Like I’ve said, the challenge for me is that I’ll be fighting the bigger man. On fight night, that advantage he has on me might be enough to make it that much more exciting. It will be interesting to see how well I adapt to the size. I have to make adjustments to overcome those challenges. This should give the fans the excitement that we want to give them.
“My only focus is on February 10 against Sergey Lipinets. That’s my target throughout the entire camp. There may be more opportunities for me on the horizon, but you’ll see on fight night that I’m one hundred percent focused.
“I know that I have the possibility to be the biggest star in boxing like a Floyd Mayweather, and I think I’m on track to accomplish that. I don’t see a lot of guys in the sport with the resume of accomplishments that I have. I’m going to continue take on the best and beat my opponents convincingly.”
“Mikey Garcia is a great champion and I want to be in the position that he’s reached in this sport. The only way there is to go through him.
“I’m taking on a great challenge against Mikey Garcia, and many people think I’m not ready. This is the fight that I wanted. I’ve had many obstacles in my way throughout my career and I’ve overcome them all. I’m going to overcome Mikey Garcia just like that.
“Every time I have sparred with top fighters, like Terrence Crawford, I have learned more about what I need to improve to get to the next level in this sport. That kind of experience has helped my confidence increase and will help me when I face Mikey Garcia.
“A lot of things can happen when you move up in weight. Usually people use some pop. Whatever version of Mikey Garcia shows up; I’ll be ready for him.
“I believe I’m going to win, Mikey believes he’s going to win, and it will all unveil in the ring. One thing I can guarantee; it’s going to be a great fight.
“Every fight I’ve had has been against a tough opponent who has helped get me to this point. Now, I’m ready to fight the best, and Mikey Garcia is truly that.
“I had to work very hard to make the transition from champion kickboxer to a champion boxer. I did everything I had to do, moving from gym to gym and sparring everyone. I always aimed for the best and wanted to be the best at what I do.”
ROBERT GARCIA, Mikey’s Brother & Trainer
“We know that Sergey Lipinets is a very dangerous fighter. He’s a really strong champion. I know he’s going to be hungry because he wants to become a big name by beating Mikey.
“Mikey is very smart in the ring. We’re going to come in there with a good game plan. We’ll have some big sparring partners. Strong, heavy guys who will give Mikey a big challenge in sparring.
“Mikey has to be in great shape for this fight. You can easily win the first eight rounds, but there are still four left. You have to be able to finish the fight. A great power puncher like Lipinets can finish you in one round.”
BUDDY MCGIRT, Lipinets’ Trainer
“We will be prepared for any and every thing. This way, when fight night comes, we’ll have an answer for everything. The key is that we just have to be on point from the opening bell to the end. There’s no way around it.
“We’re going to cover everything in training camp. You have to have every option available to you on fight night. This way, you’re never surprised in the ring. Sergey won’t go in there swinging to get a knockout, he’s going to be disciplined and focus on getting the victory.
“I believe that Sergey is on a mission. I know Mikey Garcia is on a mission too, and I respect that. I respect that these two men are fighting each other. Champions do what Sergey is doing, and that’s fighting the best.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
“This is going to be a huge night for the 140-pound division. It will be another toe-to-toe showdown at the Alamodome in San Antonio, where so many great matchups have taken place before. Tickets start at just $20 so we expect another great crowd of fight fans down in Texas.
“This matchup features two undefeated fighters, two big punchers and 50 wins, 40 by knockout, between the two of them. These guys are both champions who are daring to be great. These are exactly the kind of fighters that the public likes. These fighters will push themselves to be great.
“These guys only know one thing, and that is winning. Sergey Lipinets is the biggest puncher at 140-pounds and it seems like Mikey Garcia always seeks out these big punchers.
“Mikey is looking to do something that only Manny Paccquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have done, in moving up from 126 pounds through 140 pounds winning titles at each division. It is very difficult to carry that power up from featherweight. You have to tune-in to see an exciting fighter like that trying to make history.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, Executive VP & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports
“What boxing needs are great fights. Good, high quality matchups like Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton, Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia and Errol Spence vs. Kell Brook. There needs consistently be good fights, and that’s what we have been doing at SHOWTIME for the last couple of years. No other network has done the quality of fights that SHOWTIME is doing. No other network is as committed to the sport as SHOWTIME has been.
“The best need to fight the best, and that is what Mikey Garcia has done. He came off of a two-and-a-half-year layoff and in 18 months he’s had four fights, two title fights and will be going for a title in a fourth weight class, something only Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have done before. That’s what great fighters do.
“Historically the fighters who separate themselves as legendary, are the ones who challenge themselves and travel across weight classes to seek these challenges. But there are two sides to this story. Those who have been paying attention have seen Sergey Lipinets make a lot of noise on SHOWTIME cards lately. He has risen very quickly.
“If you just look at Lipinets’ record, 13-0, and think about him fighting Mikey Garcia it would sound crazy. But if you look at the kind of competition he’s faced, his last seven opponents have a combined record of 163-15. That’s not something you usually see 13 fights into a career. Lipinets is a combat veteran, and whatever happens in the ring, he will be ready for it. It’s going to make for an exciting night.”
(December 14th) Undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia will attempt to win a world title in a fourth weight class when he challenges unbeaten IBF 140-pound world champion Sergey Lipinets on Saturday, February 10 live on SHOWTIME. The matchup of top-5 ranked junior welterweights will take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas and is presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy will face Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their May showdown on SHOWTIME, this time for the vacant WBA 140-pound world title. The doubleheader of title bouts in the wide-open 140-pound division sets the stage for a potential unification match.
The 29-year-old Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), emphatically returned to pound-for-pound lists in 2017 by scoring a highlight reel knockout of Dejan Zlaticanin to win the WBC Lightweight World Championship in January and then dominating four-division champion Adrien Broner on his way to a unanimous decision in July. Garcia is a member of a renowned boxing family, and is noted for his sportsmanship and his commanding presence in the ring, honed by his brother and acclaimed trainer Robert Garcia.
Garcia, of Moreno Valley by way of Oxnard, Calif., returned to the ring after a two-and-half-year layoff in July 2016 without missing a beat by stopping former champion Elio Rojas. Garcia, who has held world titles at 126, 130 and 135 pounds, has stopped 19 of his last 22 opponents including Roman "Rocky" Martinez, Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido.
"It is a dream to have the opportunity to become a four-division worldchampion,'' Garcia said. "San Antonio has some of the greatest boxing fans in the country, including some key supporters of my Robert Garcia Boxing Academy family. Since my last fight, I have stayed in the gym. I can't wait to give the fans in Texas and those watching at home on SHOWTIME another great performance.''
The unbeaten Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs) captured a super lightweight world title in just his 13th pro fight by defeating Akihiro Kondo via a unanimous decision on November 4 on SHOWTIME. He is originally from Kazakhstan but moved to Russia when he was six years old. He currently lives in Beverly Hills, California, Lipinets and is trained by Buddy McGirt.
The 28-year-old moved up the 140-pound rankings with victories over then unbeaten Haskell Rhodes, Levan Ghvamichava and Walter Castillo before knocking out Leonardo Zappavigna in a world title eliminator last December. Lipinets will look to stamp his place as an elite fighter when he takes on the accomplished and dangerous Garcia on February 10.
"Getting the title is one thing, but keeping the title is a more difficult task,'' said Lipinets. "I'm not about to give it away to anybody. No disrespect to Mikey Garcia or anybody else out there, but I'm keeping my title. Beating Mikey Garcia will put me in the elite of boxing where I believe I belong. I'm happy my team was able to put this great fight together. I can promise you this won't be a snoozer. It's going to be an action-packed fight for sure.''
"We're going to call it' 'Undefeated.' That pretty much sums it up. Two undefeated fighters, champion versus champion,'' said Richard Schaefer, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports. "It's a big challenge for Mikey Garcia to win a championship belt in his fourth weight class. Lipinets never backs down and he's out to show that's he one of the biggest punchers in the division. A win for Lipinets is a game-changer for his family and his career. A win for Mikey is another feather in his cap and will help him be recognized as pound-for-pound best in the world. I'm happy to be back in San Antonio at the Alamodome. I've promoted some big fights there. San Antonio fight fans are in for a real treat seeing two of the best fighting each other. I'm sure the fans will embrace this fight.''
"We have another intriguing matchup of two young, hungry undefeated fighters who lay it on the line every time they step into the ring,'' said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. "As talented as Mikey is, you can't count Lipinets out. He's one of the hardest hitters in the 140-pound division. He's a tough competitor and there's a reason why he's a world champion. He knows this is a career-defining fight and he's going to do everything he can to spoil the party for Garcia in San Antonio on Feb. 10.''
"In three consecutive fights on SHOWTIME since his return to the sport, Mikey Garcia has solidified his position on boxing's pound-for-pound lists," said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. "Mikey has proven he's willing to take on the most avoided opponents in any division as he seeks out the biggest possible matchups in the sport. He'll face yet another dangerous opponent in Sergey Lipinets, an undefeated champion in his own right, as he seeks to become a four-division world champion. On the heels of Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson on January 20, a matchup of consensus top-10 welterweights, we're proud to deliver this main event of top-5 ranked fighters to build on the momentum."
Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs), who was born in Arroyo Naranjo, Cuba and now lives in Las Vegas, has won world titles at 130 and 135 pounds. He defeated Relikh by unanimous decision in his debut at 140 pound in his last fight on May 20. If he defeats Relikh again, he will become the first Cuban boxer to win world championships in three different weight classes. He defeated Argenis Mendez by unanimous decision to win the 130-pound world title in 2014 and a year later scored a unanimous decision over Denis Shafikov for the 135-pound world title. Barthelemy, 31, has two brothers, Yan and Leduan, who are professional boxers who he trains alongside with under the tutelage of Ismael Salas.
Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs) believes that he won the first match with Barthelemy and that the scorecards did not reflect the competitive nature of the fight. The 28-year-old nearly had Barthelemy out after landing a barrage of punches that penned Barthelemy on the ropes, but he was only awarded a knockdown. In the eighth round, Barthelemy came back to drop Relikh with a body shot. Shortly after the May 20 title eliminator, the WBA ordered a rematch, this time to be contested for the vacant 140-pound title. This will be Relikh's second world title shot after the fighter from Minsk, Belarus lost a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct. 7, 2016.