By: Hans Themistode
Gennadiy Golovkin was in utter disbelief when the scorecards were initially announced following 12 hard-fought rounds against Canelo Alvarez in 2018.
With the soon-to-be 40-year-old suffering the first defeat of his career, he’s turned the page on the controversial outcome. While Golovkin has gone on to pick up victories in his next three contests, including an IBF world title bout against Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Golovkin scoured the middleweight landscape in search of his next foe. However, even with Golovkin fighting all around the world against countless styles and opponents, he was initially taken aback when he received word on who he would be facing next.
On April 9th, at the Super Arena in Saitama Japan, Golovkin will attempt to leave his Japanese fans speechless when he takes on WBA champion, Ryota Murata. While it may not have been the name he was expecting, Golovkin is ecstatic nonetheless.
“I remember my first reaction,” said Golovkin. “I immediately thought that it’s going to be massive. That it’s going to be massive, spectacular, and truly memorable. Let’s say, it’s going to be big. Fights in Japan have their own history. And, come to think of it, now I’m going to be a part of that history.”
Amongst a long list of boxing events that took place on Japanese soil, James “Buster” Douglas scored a memorable knockout win over then, unbeaten and well feared heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, as a sizable underdog in 1990.
Murata, much like Douglas, will be forced to play the underdog role against Golovkin. While Murata did his box his way to a gold medal during the 2012 Olympic Games, he’s spent the last few years of his career sitting on the sidelines. The now 36-year-old may have picked up back-to-back wins against Steven Butler and Rob Brant, but he’s failed to make a ring appearance since 2019.
Ultimately, a win for Golovkin means more to him than just adding another world title to his already stacked resume. If the current middleweight titlist is victorious this coming weekend, he’ll cross his fingers and hope that Alvarez replicates his success on May 7th, against WBA middleweight champion Dmitry Bivol.
With a victory by both men, the pair have already agreed to meet for a third, and presumably, final time this September. However, despite craving one last crack at Alvarez, Golovkin knows good and well that if he isn’t focused on the man standing before him, his future plans will be washed away.
“I’m focused on this fight. I don’t allow myself to think about anything else. I’m not jumping over this fight. I’m not underestimating my opponent.”
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