By: Hans Themistode
Over the past few years, Gennadiy Golovkin has grown incredibly inactive. At his destructive peak, the Kazakhstan star made two or three yearly appearances. However, after scoring a concussive stoppage victory over Kamil Szeremeta in December of 2020, this year marked the first that Golovkin failed to enter the ring since turning pro in 2006.
While it wasn’t the year Golovkin’s fans had been hoping for, the current IBF middleweight champion was forced to deal with forces that were out of his control. Originally, the former unified titlist was set to take on current WBA belt holder Ryota Murata. The two were scheduled to square off on December 29th, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
But, due to the rising concern surrounding the omicron COVID-19 variant, Japan has implemented new travel restrictions that prevent foreigners from visiting. Although there was growing optimism that Golovkin would be granted a special exemption, he was ultimately denied.
Even with their contest officially pushed by the wayside, promoter Eddie Hearn is confident that both sides will come to the negotiating table fairly quickly.
“Gennady Golovkin, due to fight Murata in December,” said Hearn during an interview with IFL TV. “Looks like it’s going to be rescheduled for March or April.”
Murata, a former Olympic Gold medalist, has spent the past two years sequestered on the sidelines. Before his recent string of inactivity, Murata was arguably in the midst of the best form of his career. The hard-hitting Japanese native immediately recaptured his WBA middleweight title against Rob Brant in July of 2019, stopping his man in the second round. Five months later, Murata would score a fifth-round stoppage win over Steven Butler.
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