By: Hans Themistode
There was a bitter look of disappointment plastered across the face of Gennadiy Golovkin.
The IBF middleweight titlist and future Hall of Famer had long been hoping to share the ring with fellow middleweight belt holder, Ryota Murata. The two were originally scheduled to face off on December 29th, 2021, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, Murata’s native land. However, due to the rising concern surrounding the overall infected rate of COVID-19, Japan implemented travel restrictions that prevented foreigners from visiting, which ultimately pushed their contest to the wayside.
Now, with the infection rate dropping globally, the pair have reportedly rescheduled their showdown.
As first reported by Mike Coppinger of ESPN, both Murata and Golovkin have agreed to square off on April 9th. The pair will continue with their original plans to unify middleweight titles in Saitama Arena.
For Japan’s Murata, he’ll walk into the biggest night of his pugilistic life with what could be a considerable amount of rust. The WBA 160 pound titlist has spent well over two years sequestered on the sidelines. Although he hasn’t been active, Murata has won his last two contests via stoppage.
As for Golovkin, a win over Murata is one that he desperately craves for a myriad of reasons. Not only does Golovkin aspire to reclaim his status as a unified champion but more importantly, a victory over Murata places him one step closer to a third showdown against Canelo Alvarez.
Just a few days ago, Golovkin inked his name as part of a lucrative two-fight deal. First up for the heavy-hitting Kazakhstan star, is a date with Murata. Should he pick up the victory and rip away Murata’s world title in the process, Golovkin will wait patiently for Alvarez.
The pound-for-pound star is set to take on WBA light heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol. If Alvarez finds himself on the winning end of said bout, he’ll move back down in weight to defend his undisputed super-middleweight crown against Golovkin.
The two originally swapped fists in 2017 and 2018 with Golovkin being forced to settle for a split decision draw and majority decision loss. With three consecutive victories under his belt since suffering the first defeat of his career to Alvarez, Golovkin has maintained that he was given a raw deal, even going as far as to say that Alvarez, and those who believe he won their contests, are “delusional.”
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