Facing his biggest test as a pro, Jaron Ennis dazzled, ruthlessly dispatching former world champion Sergey Lipinets with a devastating sixth-round KO that will send shockwaves rippling through the welterweight division.
At the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Saturday night, the switch-hitting Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs & 1 NC) illustrated that he is very likely to be the arriving force at 147lbs, taking apart the usually resilient Russian with his flash and pure fire power. Lipinets was bloodied in the third and thoroughly busted up against his prodigiously gifted foe, who landed stiff blows at will.
Having dropped his man in the fourth, actually after a tangle of feet, a stunning three-punch burst ended matters in the sixth. The Philadelphia phenomenon unleashed a right hook, right uppercut and southpaw left hand to send former IBF 140lbs champion Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) crashing to the deck. The bout was immediately waved off.
“I’ll always be hard on myself when I look back at my performance,” said Ennis. “My goal is to keep getting better, sharper, faster and stronger so I can become world champion. As long as I keep fighting top guys, I’m happy. I feel like I will be world champion by the end of this year or beginning of next year. Patience is the key though.
“Lipinets has been in there with the best before, so I wasn’t surprised he held up for a while. I knew he’d be durable. That’s why I didn’t jump on the gas right away. I just took my time and broke him down. I think I graduated tonight. It’s on the up and up now. It’s onto bigger and better fights now.”
On the undercard, Lithuanian welter Eimantas Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) passed his stiffest test to date, pressuring slick former world title challenger Thomas Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs) in the late rounds to earn a hard-fought unanimous decision. Scores were 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113.
“It’s been a dream since I was a kid watching Showtime to be on this stage,” said Stanionis. “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I’ve had a long hard journey to get here, but it’s been worth it. Dulorme always threw back at me, even if I hurt him. I knew that if I was wild, he could have caught me with a good shot. I have more confidence in myself now because I know I can go 12 rounds with a good fighter. I know how the pressure will hit me now. Anything can happen in this sport, so I made sure I was prepared coming into this fight.”
The duo swapped almost 1,400 punches but Stanionis prevailed behind a thumping jab. Puerto Rican Dulorme sustained a nasty gash above his left eye in the 10th,but held firm when Stanionis pressed for the knockout in the final round.
Meanwhile, IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 22 KOs) successfully defended his crown for a ninth occasion with a tough but unanimous nod over Jonathan Rodríguez (21-2, 16 KOs) after a competitive 12 rounds. Scores were 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112.
Filipino Ancajas’ stifling body work proved decisive against a gritty Mexican challenger who pushed him right to the wire. At the end of the eighth, Ancajas floored Rodriguez with a big right hand, the first time the Mexican had been dropped in his career.
“I’m very happy to get the win. I waited a long time for the opportunity to get back in the ring and it’s exciting to win in my first fight on this stage fighting on Showtime,” said Ancajas. “This was my toughest fight so far. It was the hardest of any of my nine defences and it’s exciting that it was on a big card. I trained hard for this opportunity and it feels great to get the win.
“I thought he was going to be stopped [in the eighth] because I saw him look at his corner and it didn’t look like he wanted to go on. But he got up and fought and I respect him for doing that.”
Rodriguez showed enough aggression and heart to suggest he will come again, winning the last three rounds on the scorecards.
“I don’t think it was a just decision,” claimed Rodriguez. “I thought maybe a split decision, and I would accept it a little more. But we knew coming in that the judges were against us in this fight.”
Main image: Amanda Westcott/Showtime.