Joe Goossen on the changes he sees in Sergey Lipinets since Mikey Garcia loss

Sergey Lipinets and Joe Goossen(Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Sergey Lipinets and Joe Goossen(Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

Sergey Lipinets meets undefeated Custio Clayton on Oct. 24 for the interim IBF welterweight title. Trainer Joe Goossen explains improvements in Lipinets’ game.

It’s Saturday, Oct. 24, and in a matter of hours, Sergey Lipinets will try to win his second title against Custio Clayton. It’s been more than two years since Lipinets possessed a belt, but he’s a different fighter today.

Originally, Lipinets was supposed to fight Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, but travel issues forced Clayton to take his place

Lipinets (16-1, 12 KOs) won the IBF junior welterweight title in 2017 by defeating Akihiro Kondo by unanimous decision. He lost it four months later against Mikey Garcia via unanimous decision. Garcia was too skilled and too polished for Lipinets. Lipinets relies on his professional career for experience considering his light amateur career.

Lipinets was born in Kazakhstan but moved to Russian when he was nine, where he trained and competed as a kickboxer at a very high level. He later transitioned to boxing and fought about 40 total amateur bouts before turning professional at 25.

It only took Lipinets three years as a professional to win a world title, but the Garcia fight proved that there are levels in championship caliber. Garcia was the much more well-rounded boxer and served Lipinets his only loss.

Back then, Lipinets was trained by Buddy McGirt, but he moved on to Joe Goossen in 2018. Looking back at the boxer Lipinets was when he lost to Garcia compared to where he is today, Goossen sees a wealth of improvement, and he believes that Lipinets is still getting better.

“He [Lipinets] did certain things that may have left him a little vulnerable like with Mikey in that fight that kind of exposed a few things,” said Goossen responding to FanSided during media availability. “But the bottom line is, I try to pretty much cover everything from head movement, to foot movement, to the right placement of where your arms and hands are. I’m pretty old school when it comes to defensive tactics.”

Sergey Lipinets vs. Custio Clayton could be an intriguing matchup and the winner makes immediate waves in the welterweight division

Goossen works with Lipinets on fundamentals, but his comments show a heightened focus on defense. Lipinets fought a solid fight against Garcia. According to CompuBox statistics, Garcia landed 169 punches on Lipinets with a 24.9 connect percentage. The issue was that Garcia landed 45.5 percent of his power punches. They took a toll on Lipinets as he was knocked down in the seventh round.

The other issue in the Garcia fight was Lipinets punch output and accuracy. He threw 509 total punches and landed 144 of them.

“I would say his overall output offensively, we’ve worked on throwing a lot more punches, tightening up his delivery system,” said Goossen. “So it’s a lot shorter, even when you’re up close. Keeping the hands up a lot better when the time calls for it. I would just say it’s not brain surgery. It’s just all the right stuff that you see all the good guys do, and you try to do a conglomerate of all of it.”

Clayton isn’t Garcia. He’s a bit of an unknown quantity. Clayton was a 2012 Olympian for Canada and made it to the quarterfinal round before being eliminated. He’s undefeated as a professional with an 18-0 record with 12 knockouts, but Clayton’s opposition level is lacking.

Despite Clayton’s lack of notable names on his record, Lipinets showed him a high amount of respect going into their contest.

“He’s definitely a great fighter,” said Lipinets through a translator. “He was an Olympian for Canada.

“Stylistically, I believe we are comparable. He comes forward, try to fight you. I come forward, try to fight you. He can punch. I believe I can punch. It’s going to be very entertaining, I believe.”

The interim IBF welterweight title is up for grabs. If Goossen’s words prove true, look for Lipinets to be active while avoiding Clayton’s strongest shots. At 31 years old, Lipinets is still in his athletic prime. Custio is 33, but could make a big statement against Lipinets with an impressive showing.

Goossen has an abundance of confidence in his fighter and expects all of their preparation to lead to victory.

“You can’t do what I want to do with a fighter unless you’ve got a compliant partner,” said Goossen. “Sergey is old school that way. He will do whatever you ask him to do in the gym. He’s one of a kind in that respect.”

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You can watch Sergey Lipinets vs. Custio Clayton on Showtime on Saturday, Oct. 24. Coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET.