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The highly anticipated showdown between undefeated three-division world champion Mikey Garcia and IBF 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets is set for this Saturday, March 10th. The Premier Boxing Champions event was set to take place on February 10th, but Garcia’s quest for a fourth world title had to be rescheduled following a training injury to Lipinets’ hand. The fight will be live on SHOWTIME and will remain in San Antonio but move to the Freeman Coliseum.
The remainder of the card will remain the same including the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-feature, which will see two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy taking on Kiryl Relikh in a rematch of their thrilling fight last May, 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.
With a win, Garcia would become only the third fighter in modern history to become champion at 126, 130, 135 and 140-pounds, joining future Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao*.
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 March 10.
“We’re expecting a tough competitive fight. Lipinets is a fighter who is always dangerous. He has power in both hands and he’s not afraid to let his hands go. He’s also willing to get hit, so that he can hit you back. That’s what makes him dangerous.
“This opportunity to win a title in a fourth division was too great to pass on. It’s hard to secure fights like this. I’m happy everything came together so we can give the fans a great show.
“Last year was a great year for my return. It started with a world title win for a third division title and then I had the big victory over Adrien Broner in the summer. I’m looking for even bigger things in 2018 and this last year really paved the path for that.
“Winning a fourth title was the big draw for me in making this fight happen. To make history like that is something that really motivates me. I know that I have a lot more to accomplish in the sport, but this is a great start. This is the direction I want to go in.
“There’s a lot of talent and history in boxing in San Antonio. My brother has a gym here and we have a lot of fighters we train with from the area. Even though I’ve never fought here, I’ve gotten a lot of support from the community. When we were looking at venues for the fight, this was something I was excited to do.
“I have fought in different regions of Texas and always received a lot of love, but I had never been able to fight in San Antonio. We decided to bring the fight here to give something back to the state of Texas. There’s no city better to host it than San Antonio.”
“The fans in San Antonio can expect drama. It’s going to be a show. It’s going to have big punches, knockdowns and everything you’d want to see in a fight.
“This is the biggest challenge that I’ve had in my career. Mikey is a big star, but I’m very competitive and I want to show the world what I can do.
“My spirit cannot be matched by any fighter, but I also have the speed and strength to win. I will show my devastating power on February 10.
“Mikey is a very good chess player. People underestimate his ability to think in the ring. So I can’t just go in there with a style that someone else has used against him. We’re going to work hard on the best game plan for what I can do.
“This is going to be a difficult fight. I’m aiming to get a win any way that I can. I can’t say what it is going to look like, but I will be ready for anything in the ring.
“I’m coming to win. I want to be in the position that Mikey has reached in this sport. I’ve worked hard to get to this moment and I’m going to give it my all to take advantage.
“If I didn’t think I was ready for this fight then I wouldn’t have taken it. We have a plan and we’ll use all the experience I’ve gained from my career to execute it.”
One of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, Mikey Garcia will attempt to make history by capturing a world title in a fourth weight class. Standing in his way is unbeaten power-puncher and IBF Jr. Welterweight Champion Sergey Lipinets who is making his first title defense – live Saturday, March 10 at 10:15PM ET on SHOWTIME
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