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‘Boots’ Ennis steps forward

Jaron 'Boots' Ennis
Jaron 'Boots' Ennis looks to advance against former world champion Lipinets, writes John Dennen

JARON ‘Boots’ Ennis faces the next test in his burgeoning professional career on Saturday (April 10). At the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville Philadelphia’s rising star takes on Sergey Lipinets to prove himself a world level contender.

Although Ennis has more professional contests, Kazakhstan-born Russian “Samurai” Lipinets is the more seasoned. He has fought at a higher class. The only defeat of his career saw him lose his IBF super-lightweight title to Mikey Garcia in 2018.

He came back at welterweight, beating Erick Bone and stopping Lamont Peterson. Last year Custio Clayton held Lipinets to a draw. Not a disgrace, Clayton is a decent, unbeaten fighter but it marks Lipinets’ ceiling.

The Russian canters forward, plants his feet and unleashes hooks and uppercuts. But there are holes in his work to be picked out. Ennis certainly has the sharp, fast punches to do that.

“I know Sergey Lipinets is going to come forward and be right in front of me. That’s his style and it’s perfect for me. His style clashes perfectly with mine and he’s going to be running into shots all night long,” the American warns.

Ennis can switch easily from orthodox to southpaw and is dangerous when he lets his hands go. 24 of his 26 wins have ended in a stoppage. He was surprisingly active in 2020 too. A bout in December ended frustratingly in a no contest after Chris van Heerden was cut in the first round. But in September he exacted a punishing win over Juan Carlos Abreu, dropping the Dominican with an almighty countering right uppercut before sending him flying across the ring to end it in the sixth round. He was also out in January of that year, putting Bakhtiyar Eyubov down twice in their first round before finishing it early in the fourth.

Ennis boxes with some style and isn’t adverse to showboating either but Lipinets will test whether there’s substance beneath the flashy work of the American. “It may look like I’m a fighter who’s standing there in front of you, but I’m good at working hard, getting into my opponent’s chest and doing what I do best, which is throw punches from every possible angle,” Lipinets declared. “If you look at my career and how I went through the ranks, I did something that a lot of people didn’t. I was a world champion 13 fights in. I like to fight and I like challenges. Ennis is the challenge this time. I’ve never hesitated or thought twice about taking a fight.

“Nothing is going to scare me when I step into a ring. This ‘stepping stone’ is going to be too high for Ennis.”

Nevertheless this is an examination “Boots” is expected to pass. Once he’s found his distance the 23-year-old should be able to bring in his power shots. Exposing defensive vulnerabilities and punching with authority, Ennis could grind down Lipinets for a stoppage win in the later rounds.

“This fight is going to take me to the next level. I can do a bunch of different things and my opponent doesn’t know how I’m going to come out. He just needs to know I’m ready and this is the hardest I’ve ever worked to get ready for a fight. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a very long time and I finally got a guy with a name and now it’s my time to shine and show the world my talent and show them that I’m not to be played with. I’m a dangerous man,” Ennis said.

Jaron 'Boots' Ennis
Showtime

“Everybody has different roads to a world title. Mine is taking a little longer than some others but I don’t mind it. I’m still learning. I’m young and I’m getting better each and every fight. I’m fine with the way that my career is progressing. Everything is happening for a reason. It’s perfect timing for this opportunity.”

The top end of the super-flyweight division is a thrilling place to be, with Juan Francisco Estrada unifying against Roman Gonzalez most recently and Kazuto Ioka defending his WBO crown from Kosei Tanaka. Jerwin Ancajas needs to get himself back in that picture. Forced to sit out the entirety of 2020, the IBF super-flyweight champion comes back against Jonathan Javier Rodriguez. The 22-1 challenger is fighting outside of his Mexican homeland for the first time and should find the leap up in class too much.

Unbeaten welterweight prospect Eimantas Stanionis also boxes Thomas Dulorme on the card.

The Verdict Acid test for the highly promising Ennis.

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