Golovkin faces middleweight world champion in Japan looking to set up a third bout with bitter rival Alvarez
Gennady Golovkin ended his deal with Canelo Alavarez by stopping middleweight world champion Ryota Murata.
Golovkin and Murata had a clash last December but the fight was postponed due to Coronavirus epidemic. Four months later, the hardcore Kazakh player knows that only victory will be enough to keep his hopes up for a triple match against Alvarez later this year, assuming the Mexican overtakes Dmitry Bivol in Las Vegas next month.
And the 40-year-old eliminated his worries about age and the possibility of rust by overcoming his slow start to impose himself on Murata and ultimately stopping him in the ninth round when the fruit difficult corner kick.
Golovkin has fought little since he was controversially defeated by Alvarez in their 2018 rematch. Memories of Steve Rolls, Sergiy Dereyvanchenko and Kamil Szeremeta follow but concern persists over the sport’s aging star’s longevity.
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Meanwhile, Murata lost twice before facing Golovkin but avenged both defeats; first against Hassan N’Dam and then against Rob Brant. The Japan star has been absent for more than two years without fighting since stopping Steven Butler two days before Christmas 2019.
And Golovkin was the one to look sharper in the opening deals as he found a home for his ram-rod stab. Murata, who had been cautioned for holding back, managed to target his older rival’s body.
Murata enjoyed the second half better as he continued to attack Golovkin’s torso while the visitor appeared to have lost some of his usual hand speed. And it was the Japanese star who continued to impress in the third contest when both refused to back down.
Golovkin had a hard time dealing with Murata’s attacks when the flat-legged champion began to show signs of wear and tear in the fourth round. But he can still answer back to balance the fight.
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Murata was cautioned again early in the 5th half when he knocked Golovkin down, who responded by tying the home team player to his leg after he started the session. And the old general continued to assert himself in the battle in the sixth stanza when he defeated Murata’s mouth.
The Japanese star was having a hard time reasserting himself into the second half as Golovkin managed to knock out the compatriot world champion in search of an equalizer. The referee saw Murata first in the round of 16 when Golovkin teased his opponent.
Murara was wounded again early in the ninth session before a further ferocious attack convinced his corner to save their men for another day.