GGG Set to Face Olympic Gold Medalist in Historic Middleweight Title Unification Bout


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Widely considered one of the modern greats in Boxing, Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin looks to further cement his legacy by unifying the Middleweight division against Japanese champion Ryota Murata. 

Boxing is currently experiencing a revolution of sorts, with more and more promoters spearheading the sport with shows around the world and a Spring schedule to water the mouths of every fan across the globe.

Arguably, DAZN has been a frontrunner in globalising the sport, broadcasting shows all over the US and the UK, as well as in Mexico, Spain, Italy, and now for the first time in Japan.

In cooperation with Teiken Promotions, DAZN will broadcast the event live from Saitama, Japan, with the undercard set to kick off shortly after 10 am UK time.

The fight represents a mega day in Boxing, with Ryan Garcia in action on the DAZN platform on the same day, as well as clashes between Erickson Lubin and Sebastian Fundora, as well as Mikaela Mayer and Jennifer Han.

It can be argued that the clash between Golovkin and Murata to unify the Middleweight division may well be the biggest of them all, with the highest of all honours on the line.

At 39-years-old, the longevity of Gennadiy Golovkin, paired with the level he has fought at throughout his career, has solidified him as one of the most highly regarded and respected fighters of recent times.

‘GGG’ went about his career the ‘proper way’, gaining immense experience in the amateur game before turning professional. By 19, the man from Kazakhstan was an Asian Games gold medalist, and two years later at 21, he would win an Olympic silver medal in Athens.

After a disappointing World Championship in 2005, Golovkin switched to the professional ranks in 2006, making a successful debut against Gabor Balogh in Germany. As he navigated the embryonic stages of his career, ‘GGG’ would obtain a record for being a knockout artist and kept a 100% stoppage record throughout a staggering 36 fights before his first-ever decision win in 2017, 11 years after he turned professional. By that time, at 34 years of age, he had captured four world titles, with three of them coming under the ‘recognised world honours’ bracket.

Along the way, Golovkin would pulverise widely respected fighters such as Gabriel Rosado, Matthew Macklin, Marco Antonio Rubio, Martin Murray, Willie Monroe Jr, David Lemieux and Kell Brook – all of whom he would knock out. His first decision win came against Daniel Jacobs, who, despite going down in the 4th round, pushed Golovkin close on the cards, with one judge citing that the knockdown was the deciding factor in the fight. This would expose the potential weakness of ‘GGG’, proving that if a fighter can avoid, or at least survive, Golovkin’s power, then there is the potential to beat him by Boxing off the back foot.

Following this, Golovkin would have a fight for the ages against another great of the generation in Saul’ Canelo’ Alvarez in 2017. After an all-time classic battle, the judges could not come to a definitive decision, ultimately resulting in the bout ending in a draw. After a comfortable mandatory defence for ‘GGG’, the two would run it back again, having yet another historic clash, but one that would ultimately go the way of the Mexican.

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However, many people believe Golovkin won the first fight, with others feeling as though he won the second clash too. As such, Golovkin is heralded as a pound-for-pound great of the current generation, and indeed of all time, and it is rumoured that should Golovkin be successful in this defence, there could well be a trilogy fight.

Ryota Murata is the man standing in the way of ‘GGG’ and one of the biggest fights in history, and the Japanese fighter will be far more concerned about his own legacy. Also, an Olympian, Murata went one better than Golovkin in capturing the gold medal at London 2012. Now, ten years later, he is looking to go full circle and beat the Kazakh fighter and unify the Middleweight division.

After a deserved break, Murata would turn professional in 2013, debuting against a fighter with a 21-7-1 record in Akio Shibata. Murata showed a combination of power and slick Boxing in his rise to professional stardom but has been relatively inactive throughout his career, averaging just two fights a year.

In 2017, Murata would get the first world title of his career, albeit for the WBA Regular strap, against Cameroonian-French champion Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. Thanks to a controversial split decision loss, Murata lost out in a close and hugely competitive fight. However, Murata avenged this loss in a rematch, stopping N’Jikam in seven rounds.

The Tokyo fighter would go on to defend against Italian challenger Emanuele Blandamura before suffering a shock second defeat to America’s Rob Brant. In this fight, Murata showed weaknesses defensively, leaving himself susceptible to the counter punch and ultimately getting outboxed and outscored.

Once again, though, Murata would pick himself up and avenge his loss, returning with an emphatic 2nd round knockout to recapture his WBA World Middleweight Championship.

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Murata defended against Canada’s Steven Butler before being upgraded to WBA Super Champion, the first time the Japanese fighter has been considered a ‘recognised world champion’. However, COVID has made fighting in Japan near-on impossible for a long time, and this fight itself has had to be rescheduled on a couple of occasions due to restrictions being extenuated. However, the showdown is now on, and bar any injuries, we will see these two champions lock horns for the very first time.

The fight is sure to be a heavy-hitting affair between two big punchers, with 49 knockouts between the two competitors. However, there is certainly the potential that the two fighters’ punch resistance could cancel each other out, meaning it may go to the cards, something Golovkin has struggled with in the past.

The eyes of many boxing fans will be on this huge Middleweight unification, not just because it is a mammoth world title clash, but for the potential that it could lead to a Canelo v GGG trilogy fight. Should Canelo be successful against Dmitry Bivol, the next fight would be the trilogy fight. However, the Japanese crowd will be hoping for an upset that would see their fighter propelled to stardom.

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