Former world champion Sergey Lipinets and unbeaten Custio Clayton previewed their battle for the interim IBF Welterweight Title Thursday during media availability on Zoom in advance of their main event bout live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, October 31 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The media availability also featured undefeated contender Xavier Martinez and hard-hitting Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero, who will duel in a 12-round WBA Super Featherweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event, plus rising super lightweight Malik “Iceman” Hawkins and knockout artist Subriel Matias, who will kick off the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITIONat 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in a 10-round showdown.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions, Lee Baxter Promotions and Mayweather Promotions.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:
“We stayed in the gym the whole time. Joe Goossen kept us working every day of the week. We were actually getting ready for several possible opponents at once. Everything really went as planned.
“Clayton’s name was thrown out probably a month ago as a possibility. Joe took care of studying him initially. About a week ago we got everything solidified, but we had already worked with sparring partners to prepare for someone like Clayton.
“It was really all about Joe putting pieces together for my style no matter who we were going to face. People might not think it, but I can box and move around the ring well. Joe has added elements to it that made it a more fluid style.
“Clayton is definitely a great fighter. He was an Olympian, which says a lot in itself. He’s shown in the pros that he can punch well, so we know he’s dangerous. We both come forward and try to fight. It’s going to be a very entertaining fight.
“I don’t look past Clayton. I have to win that fight and I’m 100% focused on him. But I do believe that I belong on the level with Errol Spence Jr. and the other elite welterweights. I think I’ve shown that my whole career. Before I can look at a fight against Spence or Danny Garcia, I have to win on Saturday.”
“The truth is that I’ve been preparing for the possibility of this fight for four or five weeks. I’m not underprepared whatsoever. I was ready to fight when I got the call. How do you say no to a fight like this? I have had a great camp and I feel confident and ready for Saturday night.
“I think this is a very good matchup. Lipinets is a very good fighter. He’s a former world champion and from what I’ve seen he always comes to fight. Most people look at me as an aggressive fighter as well. I always like to bang, but I think you are going to see a different side to me.
“People who know me know that I’m very low-key and laid back, so not much gets to me, but this is a very, very big opportunity and I’m thankful for it. I’m not the type to jump in excitement but I am definitely very happy that I got the call for this fight. Now we are focused on preparing for Lipinets.
“I think my boxing ability is going to be the biggest factor in this fight. It’s just that nobody has seen it yet. That will be the big key. People don’t understand how smart I am. I don’t look at the size. I’m prepared for whatever.”
“I think a win would do a lot for the reputation of Canadian boxers. It will show that we do have some fighters that when they get the opportunity, can take advantage of it. We have a couple fighters like Jean Pascal and hopefully that I can show I can be another one. All the hard work I did back in Nova Scotia, it shows that people can take different routes to chase their dreams. A win would mean a lot to me and to Novia Scotia.”
“I’ve been in camp since July because I thought I was going to fight in August, but there was a change of plans. So I’ve had a very long camp and I’m more than ready for Saturday night. I’m not going to chase a knockout, but my plan is to get him out within seven rounds. If it doesn’t go that way, I already know I’m going to win no matter what.
“I feel like this fight is a big step-up. I get the opportunity to show off my skills against somebody who has experience. But just because he has more experience, doesn’t mean he’s better than me. I’m very excited to fight. I haven’t fought in a while, so Saturday night you guys are going to be in for a treat.
“Having the fight postponed wasn’t too much of a disruption. I was a little upset about it but you have to take everything in stride. I looked at it as I have two more weeks to prepare and I was actually able to eat for a couple nights before I got right back on my diet. I was happy to eat.
“I see that he’s been stopped before. I’m not looking for a knockout, but my plan is to go in there and overwhelm him with combinations and pressure. After this fight, I hope to be able to get a world title fight for my next fight or at least within two fights. The goal is to get to that world title fight and right now Marrero is standing in the way of that. I need to knock him out of the way.
“The game plan is to go in there and be me. I’m going to adjust to whatever he does, make the changes I need to make and execute the plan that my coach Ray [Woods] has in store for me.”
“There were some personal things I was dealing with in the past, and going up in weight has been new, but I’m very confident with myself right now and with my preparations.
“I respect my opponent. I don’t know much about Martinez. He’s a young lion trying to come up. Other than that, he’s just another fighter in the way.
“A win against Martinez would be good for my career. He’s not a world champion or anything like that. I don’t know exactly what it will do, but for me he’s just another fighter. He’s just another win I will get on Saturday.
“To go all the way down to 126 pounds I would have to lose like 30 pounds. So moving up in weight and being given the extra five pounds is huge for me. Physically I’m feeling so strong right now.
“SHOWTIME is my house. Nobody beats me on SHOWTIME!”
“I’m feeling great heading into this fight. I’ve had a tremendous training camp with a lot of different types of sparring. I’ve sparred with Terence Crawford, Jaron Ennis, Jamel Herring and Maurice Hooker. Now I know that come Saturday I’m prepared for any type of look Matias is willing to bring.
“Training during the pandemic didn’t really affect me physically, just mentally, because I was set to fight in the summer. Then we had to readjust, but you can’t cry over spilled milk.
“We definitely looked at Matias’ last fight. Everyone looked at his record before that fight, but what we saw is that if you actually fight him back, he’s more of a B or C class fighter. I think that’s the type of fighter he is.
“His team is using the excuse that he didn’t take his last opponent seriously. With the way I train, it doesn’t matter if my opponent is 0-20. I’m always going to come into the fight at my very best.
“One thing I know is that he’s going to try to bully me, but that’s what I’ve always done. I’m not going to sit there and let him beat me at my own game.
“I don’t really pay attention to someone’s knockout ratio. Those knockouts didn’t come against anyone who fights like me. I’m just looking at this like an opportunity to get closer to my world title shot.”
“I have only myself to blame for losing my last fight. In boxing everyone pays the consequences and I paid the last time considering my camp wasn’t the best one. I have made the adjustments I needed to make. I’m motivated to prove everyone wrong. I’m ready for this fight physically and mentally.
“Excuses are for losers. I have nothing to say about the last fight except my opponent got the better of me. Come Saturday, you will see the difference.
“My record speaks for itself with 15 knockouts, so I don’t have to change as a fighter. I know who I am as a fighter.
“Malik says the fight won’t go the distance. And I agree with that prediction.”