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Gennadiy Golovkin vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko official for Oct. 5 in New York

GGG returns to Madison Square Garden to fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title.

Gennady Golovkin v Steve Rolls Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Word leaked yesterday evening, and now it’s official: Gennadiy Golovkin will face Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF middleweight title on Oct. 5 from Madison Square Garden, live on DAZN.

Golovkin (39-1, 35 KO) won the IBF belt back in Oct. 2015, stopping David Lemieux in the eighth round of an HBO pay-per-view main event at MSG. He defended it three times before being questionably stripped in the spring of 2018, after Canelo Alvarez pulled out of a scheduled rematch in May following a failed drug test. Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KO) had been his mandatory, and Golovkin failed to make that defense, instead facing Vanes Martirosyan in a short-notice bout on May 5, which the IBF did not sanction as a title defense.

Derevyanchenko instead fought Daniel Jacobs for the vacant title in Oct. 2018, losing a split decision at the Hulu Theater at MSG. Jacobs then faced Canelo this past May in a unification, losing the belt to Alvarez. Meanwhile, Derevyanchenko had beaten Jack Culcay in an eliminator on April 13.

After Alvarez and Derevyanchenko failed to come to terms, the IBF stripped Canelo, and now here we are with GGG-Derevyanchenko after all that.

“Everyone knows that I consider Madison Square Garden as my home away from home and there is nothing better than fighting there again. It is old school,” said Golovkin. “On Oct. 5, it’s going to be a good fight. Every time I enter the ring I try to give my fans the fight they want to see, the show they deserve. This will be such a fight. We will bring back Big Drama Show to the ring of The Garden and to DAZN. Don’t miss it. You will see everything you love in the sport of boxing. See you in New York.”

“I’m very excited that my team has secured another opportunity for me to fight for the middleweight championship of the world,” said Derevyanchenko. “I have a great deal of respect for GGG and looking forward to proving in the ring that I will be up to challenge and fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a world champion. Those in attendance at Madison Square Garden and watching on DAZN will see an outstanding battle on Saturday October 5 — I can’t wait to enter the ring.”

Golovkin, 37, returned to the ring for the first fight on his DAZN contract on June 8, knocking out overmatched Steve Rolls in the fourth round. It was also Golovkin’s first fight with new trainer Johnathon Banks, after a big public parting with Abel Sanchez following last year’s narrow loss to Alvarez in their rematch.

Much of the talk with Golovkin and Canelo both being signed to big money DAZN deals was that the streaming service badly wanted the two to meet in a lucrative third fight in September. That didn’t come to pass. Now, we have GGG-Derevyanchenko, and it seems likely we’ll see Canelo faces Demetrius Andrade by the end of the year, too.

If both were to win, that would set them up for a much-anticipated third fight in May 2020, in theory, which would be a full middleweight unification if not for the fact that the WBC “elevated” Alvarez to a title position (“franchise champion”) that doesn’t really exist in order to make Jermall Charlo their “world champion.”

Boxing goofiness aside, there’s a clear path to Canelo-GGG III, but neither guy has it easy next. Derevyanchenko can fight — he gave Jacobs a hell of a battle — and Andrade doesn’t figure to be easy for Alvarez, either. As we’ve said before, these may not be the fights most people wanted right now, but they’re good, high-level matchups all the same.