Lipinets wins vacant IBF junior welterweight belt over Kondo

(AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

By BARRY WILNER

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) Sergey Lipinets won a unanimous decision over Akihiro Kondo for the vacant IBF junior welterweight title Saturday night, a decision that was lustily booed by the crowd at Barclays Center.

In a bout featuring lots of action but lots of missed punches, the 28-year-old Lipinets of Kazakhstan won despite dealing with a cut on the forehead that bled for the final six rounds. He won 118-111 on one judge's card and 117-111 on two others even though Kondo, fighting outside of his native Japan for the first time, carried much of the action in the second half of the bout.

The AP scored it 115-113 for Lipinets, who is 13-0. Kondo fell to 29-7-1, losing for the first time in nine fights.

Lipinets was sharp early, using his right lead to score and landing uppercuts. He opened a cut on Kondo's nose in the second round, but it was the gash on Lipinets from a head butt in the sixth round that had more effect in the fight.

"The head butt really impaired my vision and it led to me walking into some stupid shots," Lipinets said.

The Showtime bout took place on the undercard of Deontay Wilder's defense of his WBC heavyweight crown.

"It was a fair decision," Kondo said. "He hit me with a lot of hard punches and I felt like I needed at least a knockdown in the last round."

In the last undercard bout before a crowd of 10,924, Shawn Porter pummeled Adrian Granados for most of 12 rounds in a lopsided fight. There were more clinches in the first round of that fight than in the entire Lipinets-Kondo matchup.

Porter is in line for another welterweight championship opportunity; he held the IBF crown in 2013-14. He improved to 28-2-1 in a bout that had little style, but plenty of action. The judges all had it 117-111 for Porter.

"He gave me a little trouble here and there," said Porter, who wants a rematch with WBA champ Keith Thurman, who beat him at Barclays Center last year. "I hurt my left hand in the sixth round, but I kept using it. I had to use my jab. It took a toll on me and by the 10th round I just couldn't throw it anymore."

Granados is now 18-6-2 and left the ring with a bloodied and battered face, but insisting he "controlled the whole fight."

"I rocked him multiple times and he never had me in any trouble," Granado added.

In what was billed a heavyweight eliminator, Dominic Breazeale (19-1, 17 KOs) stopped Eric Molina after eight rounds. Molina, exhausted after taking a battering in the eighth, had his arms hanging over the ropes when the round ended. A ringside doctor then stopped it.

Molina (26-5) previously has lost to both Wilder and to WBA-IBF champion Anthony Joshua. Breazeale also has lost to Joshua.

"Deontay is who I want to face," Breazeale said. "I have to see him. We have some personal business that we need to square up, man to man. I'm not even going to stick around for the main event, I'm going to get some pizza and catch the highlights later."

Updated November 4, 2017