Former IBF 140lbs champion Sergey Lipinets believes victory over Philadelphia’s rising star Jaron Ennis will seal him another world title shot at welterweight.

The battle-hardened Lipinets faces the flashy Ennis at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on April 10, still eager to become a two-division champion, but left with something to prove after a surprise draw against Custio Clayton last October.

Ennis (26-0, 24 KOs & I NC) claims most of the leading welterweights don’t want to fight him, but Lipinets isn’t ready to back away from that challenge.

“I’m not sure why people say Ennis is avoided. On this level, nobody is afraid of anybody. I took this fight because I recognise that he’s one of the best welterweights out there and I believe that when I beat him it’ll put me in the mix for another championship fight. After this fight, the champions in this division are going to have to face me,” said California-based Russian Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KOs).

“This is probably my hardest training camp ever. We’re training for Ennis’ physical abilities because we know he’s the full package as a fighter. He’s an up-and-comer with a lot on the line against me. So, I’m really pushing myself. I’ve had to spar some really diverse fighters because Ennis does a lot of different things in the ring and he can switch up stances and styles. We’ve had some rigorous sparring sessions.

“Working with Coach [Joe] Goossen is a great fit for me. He’s making it so that the things we’re working on are like second nature to me. It’s lots of work on combinations and throwing punches from different angles. Personality-wise we’re on the same page, too, so we get along great, but he still pushes me.

“We didn’t have the proper amount of time to prepare for Clayton and he’s not an easy guy to fight. He has a great amateur pedigree, and he’s athletic and boxes well. On top of all that, I pulled my left hamstring in the third round and it got worse and worse over the course of the fight. I don’t want to make excuses, but that wasn’t the best fight for me.

“But Jaron was born with a mouthpiece in, not a pacifier. I know he’s a fighter and he’ll be ready. This fight will come down to sheer will. We’ll see on April 10 whether he’s ready for me, but I don’t think I have all that much more experience than him because I know he’s been around boxing his whole life.

“I just want the sparks to fly. I believe that Jaron will bring out the best in me. I know that he’s a typical Philadelphia fighter who has a lot of pride, and I expect us to have an old school melee on April 10.”

Ennis vs Lipinets will be broadcast live on Showtime in the US on April 10.

Main image: Esther Lin/Showtime.