By: Hans Themistode
For the better part of two years, both WBC middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin and WBA titleholder Ryota Murata, have spent more time outside of the ring, than inside of it. However, after working diligently behind the scenes, it appears as though that will be coming to an end.
As first reported by Mike Coppinger of ESPN, both Murata and Golovkin have agreed to terms on a deal that will see them square off on December 29th, at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Since picking up the first defeat of his career to Canelo Alvarez in September of 2018, Golovkin has been painfully inactive. The former pound-for-pound star scored a one-sided knockout victory over Steve Rolls in June of 2019. Although Golovkin appeared to be back to his dominant ways, he struggled in his next ring appearance.
In early October, four months following his victory over Rolls, Golovkin found himself in the fight of his life against perennial contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Despite registering the first-round knockdown, Derevyanchenko rallied during the second half of their contest, although he would ultimately lose via close unanimous decision.
Since then, Golovkin has appeared in the ring just once, scoring a 7th round stoppage win against overmatched mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta in December of 2020.
While Golovkin has made just three ring appearances since June of 2019, by the time he steps into the ring against Murata, the Japanese native will have spent two full years on the sidelines.
Since winning Olympic gold in 2012, Murata dominated the competition and was fast-tracked to his first crack at a world title in 2017. Murata would go on to lose controversially to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam via split decision. Five months later, however, Murata righted the ship against N’Jikam, scoring a seventh-round knockout win.
In December of 2019, Murata’s last trip to the ring, he scored a fifth-round stoppage victory against fringe contender Steven Butler.
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