Former IBF 140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets (pictured) has agreed to replace Adrien Broner this weekend and will now face former WBC lightweight champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. in Showtime Championship Boxing's main event this Saturday, August 20, at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida in a Premier Boxing Champions Event. Lipinets (16-2-1, 12 KOs) was in training and already scheduled to appear on the August 20th card before being elevated as a replacement for Broner in the main event. Broner, the former four-division champion, pulled out of the previously scheduled match against Figueroa earlier today, citing mental health issues.
Born in Martuk, Kazakhstan and now living in Woodland Hills, Calif., Lipinets is no stranger to the main stage, having tangled with champions including Lamont Peterson and Mikey Garcia. The 33-year-old defeated Akhiro Kondo for the vacant IBF title in 2017 and lost the title to Garcia by unanimous decision in 2018. He is coming off a loss to Jaron Ennis in a welterweight title in April 2021. “We’ve actually been in camp for almost three months getting ready for whoever they put in front of me,” said Lipinets. “We’ve been training with no particular opponent in mind. There have been a few different guys that have said they wanted to fight me. So, we’ve been sparring with and preparing for all types of styles. And now we get this great news that I get to fight Figueroa this Saturday. I can’t wait to show everyone that I’m still a force to be reckoned with at 140 pounds.”
The Showtime telecast will also feature 140-pounders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov squaring off for the vacant WBA title in the co-main event and WBA 130-pound champion Roger Gutierrez defending against unbeaten Hector Garcia. In the telecast opener, Brandun Lee, one of the sport’s most exciting prospects and biggest punchers, will take on Will Madera in a ten-round junior welterweight bout opening a four-fight telecast that begins live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Additionally, Showtime will offer live streaming coverage of unbeaten Cuban heavyweight Lenier Peró battling Joel Caudle in an eight-round bout and undefeated middleweight Fiodor Czerkaszyn taking on Gilbert Venegas Jr. in an eight-round duel via the Showtime Sports YouTube channel and Boxing Facebook page prior to the start of the televised quadrupleheader.
As for Broner, the news is not pretty. "Man, I'm going [through] a lot at this moment in my life, but I ain't gonna give up. I set some more goals and I finish what I started but sorry to say this, but I'm not fighting August 20," Broner said in an Instagram post. “Sorry to all my fans but Mental Health is real and I’m not about to play inside the ring … So, I have to step back and overcome this obstacle before I go put my life on the line inside the square circle again. I know I’m far from being finished with the sport.’’
The 32-year-old Figueroa (28-2-1, 19 KOs) is from a fighting family along with his younger brother Brandon, a former super bantamweight world champion. Figueroa won the WBC lightweight championship with a unanimous decision victory over Nihito Arakawa in a 2013 “Fight of the Year” and successfully defended the title two times before moving up to 140 pounds in 2015. Figueroa has also fought at welterweight, earning action-packed victories over Robert Guerrero, John Molina Jr., and Antonio DeMarco. He’ll move back down to junior welterweight on August 20th after back-to-back defeats against Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos. His match against Lipinets is a classic crossroads fight.
"This is going to be a great fight against Lipinets and I hope he's ready for what I'm bringing," said Figueroa. "I've made changes in my life and I'm excited to see the kind of fighter that I am now. I'm going to show what I can do now that I have a clear head and a clear path ahead of me. With the opponent change I'm even more ready to take all the frustrations and anger that have built up in camp and bring it into the ring on Saturday and come out victorious."
Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.