Showtime televise in the USA this Saturday night, and the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, is the setting where some solid prospects are in action.
Top of the bill is 23-year-old Philadelphian, Jaron Ennis (26-0, KO24, 1NC) and he makes a step up in class when he meets former world champion, Sergey Lipinets (16-1-1, KO12), over a scheduled 12 rounds at welterweight.
For Ennis this is his big chance to make a statement, and put the belt holders at 147lbs on notice as he attempts to truly gate crash the division in the near future.
‘Boots’ is in the top 15 in the rankings of each of the WBC, IBF and WBO, and a win over the tough Russian will certainly enhance his credentials.
Ennis had a busy 2020 schedule by current standards, fighting three times. He began with a January fourth round stoppage of Bakhtiyar Eyubov, and followed that up with arguably the best win of his career, stopping Juan Carlos Abreu, who hadn’t previously been halted, in six rounds.
Ennis was last out in December 2020, but it was a frustrating night for him, as his tilt at the vacant IBO belt ended in the first round, as Chris van Heerden suffered a cut from a clash of heads that ruled him out of the contest.
The 32-year-old should provide a good test of Ennis’ ambitions. Born in Kazakhstan, a Russian national living in California, Lipinets has grown into the welterweight division after a short spell as IBF Super Lightweight champion in November 2017, decisioning Akihiro Kondo in Brooklyn.
His sole defeat thus far came in his following bout, as Mikey Garcia dropped Lipinets in the seventh on the way to a wide points win.
A move up in weight came with a solid tenth round stoppage of Lamont Peterson, but his progress was checked in his last fight, as he was held to a majority draw with the unbeaten Custio Clayton for the Interim IBF crown.
Prediction: Ennis is a highly regarded talent, and a win here over Lipinets would be a step in the right direction towards world titles.
It won’t be an easy nights’ work though and Ennis will attempt to put the heat on his opponent early on, before likely having to settle for a wide win on the cards.
There is also world title action on the bill, as long serving IBF super flyweight champion, Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, KO22) makes a ninth defence of his crown against Mexico’s Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (22-1, KO16).
Ancajas is an all action fighter, much in the mould of his fellow Filipino, Manny Pacquiao, and he won the belt in September 2016, dropping McJoe Arroyo before taking a decision.
He impressed in his first few defences, including a sixth round steamrollering of Jamie Conlan in Belfast, but he has somewhat stuttered since, including a split draw in September 2018 against Alejandro Barrios. He has looked better since, scoring two early wins, his last coming in December 2019, with a sixth round stoppage of Miguel Gonzalez.
25-year-old Rodriguez has never fought outside his homeland, and his record doesn’t give much hope for the upset here. He was last out in December 2020, knocking out Julian Yedras inside a round.
Ancajas’ high output should grind Rodriguez down in the championship rounds for a late stoppage win.
Another hot prospect is Eimantas Stanionis (12-0, KO9), and the California-based Lithuanian has a real acid test on his hands as he meets former world title challenger, Thomas Dulorme (25-4-1, KO16) over a scheduled twelve at welterweight.
Stanionis has impressed so far in his fledgling career, and the former amateur standout was last seen in December 2020, knocking out Janer Gonzalez in nine rounds.
Dulorme challenged for the WBO belt in April 2015 at super lightweight, but was stopped in six by the excellent Terence Crawford.
He has been in patchy form since, winning three of his last six outings. His last was in August last year, losing a WBA interim title match with Jamal James on the cards.
Stanionis should be able to pull away down the stretch for a clear points win.
Son of the legend, Evan Holyfield (5-0, KO4) takes part in a super welterweight four rounder, where he may need the scorecards to see off the never previously stopped Nicholas Compton (2-3, KO0).
Finally at featherweight, Filipino, Mark Magsayo (21-0, KO14) can take a clear points win against Pablo Cruz (21-3, KO6) over ten.