The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 16, 2014

Lippe learns from early knockdown

MIAMI, Okla. — Trey Lippe’s introduction to professional boxing sure came in a hurry.

In his pro debut, the son of former heavyweight champion Tommy “The Duke” Morrison was knocked down in the fight’s first 10 seconds. However, Lippe rebounded to score a second-round technical knockout over Kris Renty during the main event of the “Night of Future Champions” boxing card on Saturday night at Buffalo Run Casino.

After the knockdown, Lippe (1-0, 1 KO) responded by punishing Oklahoma City’s Renty (1-1, 1 KO) for the majority of the fight. The overpowering Lippe delivered a flurry of crushing uppercuts as Renty was caught against the ropes. Renty’s left eye was visibly swollen by the end of the first round.

Lippe’s debut showed a great deal of potential but also exposed his lack of experience. The 24-year-old heavyweight, who was a standout football player at Vinita High School and the University of Central Arkansas, didn’t begin training as a boxer until about three months ago. In contrast, Lippe’s father was 24 when he beat George Foreman for the WBO title in 1993 and had hundreds of amateur fights before starting his pro career.

But Lippe said no amount of training could prepare him for the adrenaline rush he had when he entered the ring in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,129 that included many family members and friends.

“It was a lot different than sparring,” said Lippe, who had a small cut underneath his eye after the fight. “I can’t really explain it. Live boxing and sparring are a lot different.

“I’ve never had an adrenaline rush like that before. In football, I played in front of big crowds but the focus was never all on me.”

Seemingly more concerned with his offensive attack than defense, Renty caught Lippe by surprise with a left hook to the chin about 10 seconds into the fight. Lippe quickly rose to his feet and resumed fighting.

“I tried to pop up as quick as I could to show him that it didn’t mean anything,” Lippe said. “I wanted to show him that it didn’t faze me, and I was coming right back at him.”

Lippe’s trainer, Peppe Johnson, said the urgency to get back up was a sign of inexperience.

“When he went down, he automatically jumped back up,” Johnson said. “When you jump up like that, it could make you dizzy, and that’s when you could really get into trouble. He’ll learn that if you get knocked down, you need to take a couple of seconds to regain your composure.”

Johnson said his grade for Lippe’s performance was a “C” and that he wants to see the young boxer do a better job of keeping his hands up and setting things up with his jab.

But after the early knockdown, Lippe’s instincts to brawl seemed to take over.

“It did,” Lippe said. “With the first round, I think it’d be wrong for me to say it didn’t. He hit me a couple times and trying to be smart kind of went out the window for a second. But after the first round, Peppe sat me down and talked to me. After that, I felt I got a little smarter out there. I used my jab to set things up better, and it all worked out. “

Promoter Tony Holden said he expects Lippe’s next fight to be in about two months and believes the early knockdown will serve as a great learning experience.

“It was the best thing that could have happened to him,” Holden said.

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