Gennadiy Golovkin, by the promotion of it all, broke a record tonight with his 21st middleweight title defense, thoroughly dominating Kamil Szeremeta for a stoppage after seven rounds of one-way action.
Whether or not you want to count the record (there are reasons to not), Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KO) dominated in this fight as he has against so many in his career. The 38-year-old star from Kazakhstan will get a lot of “GGG of old!” hype from some corners for this win, but it was a mismatch on paper (Golovkin was a -2500 favorite) and played out as one in the ring.
Szeremeta (21-1, 5 KO) is a former European titleholder and was the IBF mandatory challenger, but he was never seen as a real threat to GGG, and that’s how it played out in the ring. Golovkin dropped Szeremeta in the first, second, fourth, and seventh rounds, and there was simply nothing the game but vastly over-matched Polish challenger could do.
Golovkin worked his famously heavy jab nicely, went to the body when he wanted to, mixed up his shots upstairs nicely, and when he landed with the thuds, Szeremeta had trouble handling the power. With Szeremeta’s own power limited, Golovkin feared little in return, and there was nothing Szeremeta could do to discourage the onslaughts when Golovkin felt like letting it go.
“I felt very comfortable. I work hard, I had a lot of time, I had a lot of good people with me. I’m very proud of my team,” Golovkin said. “I respect Kamil’s trainer and corner, they’re very smart, because, you know, he was done. Come on, guys. I felt my jab, my power, my timing.”
Golovkin sort of said he let the fight go on further than he needed to, and then didn’t call out tomorrow’s Canelo-Smith winner, but said he would like to fight the victor.
“I’m open for anybody, the best opponents for me, for business, for DAZN, I’m ready,” Golovkin said. “I hope tomorrow is a great event, and may the best man win. The fans will win that one.”
GGG puts Szeremeta down in Round 1 pic.twitter.com/yKOWXHOzKK— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) December 19, 2020
GGG knocks Szeremeta down AGAIN pic.twitter.com/8uUuF8xnxq— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) December 19, 2020
Hyun Mi Choi UD-10 Calista Silgado
Choi retains the WBA 130-pound title, though Silgado couldn’t win it because she missed weight by a pound on Thursday. Pretty good fight here, with Choi (18-0-1, 4 KO) mostly out-working Silgado (19-12-3, 14 KO), who was game as hell but just not consistently on Choi’s level. Silgado did have her moments with some power shots, and took a few rounds, arguably. BLH had it 97-93 for Choi, while the official judges had it 97-93, 98-92, and 99-91.
The 30-year-old Choi, who was born in Pyongyang and now lives and fights out of Seoul, is in a good spot as far as getting big fights. Matchroom have Choi under contract, as well as IBF titlist Maiva Hamadouche and WBC titlist Terri Harper. There’s also WBO titleholder Mikaela Mayer, who is with Top Rank, but could well get a fight with one of them, and perhaps ultimately lead to a full unification, which Eddie Hearn has said he wants to see.
For her part, Mayer is interested:
I’ll take Choi or Douche since Harper had to go and break her hand.— Mikaela Mayer (@MikaelaMayer1) December 19, 2020
John Ryder UD-10 Mike Guy
A brutally bad fight to watch, as Guy (12-6-1, 5 KO) came only to spoil and survive, put no real effort into offense, but was able to neutralize Ryder (29-5, 16 KO), too, at least as far as Ryder also not looking good here.
Honestly, the less said about this, the better. The 32-year-old Ryder moves on and should probably just forget about this fight. He’s still a top 10 super middleweight for the time being. Guy, 39, did about what you could have expected. He acted like he thought he won, and one judge did have it 96-94 Ryder, but the other two were more in line with everyone else at 99-91 and 100-90.
Carlos Gongora TKO-12 Ali Akhmedov
This is a huge upset by the betting odds, and an upset period, if it’s not a crazy upset in terms of what they’d both accomplished coming in.
Akhmedov (16-1, 12 KO) had the bigger hype, a 25-year-old Kazakh who had shown power and skill, and he looked early like he was going to be able to bulldoze the 31-year-old Gongora (19-0, 14 KO), a 31-year-old former two-time Olympian from Ecuador, a country that has never had a world champion in pro boxing.
But Gongora got through being shaken up in the second round especially, and really started picking up good momentum in the second half, at least on our card. The judges all had Akhmedov up going into the 12th round, but he got dropped twice, and the second time it was over:
GONGORA DROPS AKHMEDOV IN THE 12TH ROUND TO WIN IT! pic.twitter.com/6ufm5TzOzY— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) December 18, 2020
The win is absolutely massive for Gongora. It gives him the lightly-regarded IBO title, which is what it is, and you could probably argue him into a top 10 spot at 168 right now, belt or not. He wasn’t truly on many radars coming in here, while Akhmedov was.
And this was a fantastic, hard-hitting, physically tough fight. Akhmedov got marked up and was just flat gassed by the end, and Gongora left everything he had to get the win in the ring, too. Hats off to both, really.
“I was a little worn down for the 12th round, but I knew I had to dig deep, and I just found I had to pull it out of me, trade with him and win that last round,” Gongora said through a translator. “I did feel his power. He’s a strong guy. I almost tasted defeat, but I didn’t come here to lose. I dug deep and at the end, he had to go down, and I put everything into it to get it done.”
Reshat Mati TKO-6 Dennis Okoth
“The Albanian Bear” closes his year with another win, improving to 9-0 (7 KO) with a final round stoppage of Okoth (4-5-1, 2 KO), who has now been stopped in three straight fights. Mati, 22, didn’t look great here, really, but that’s because Okoth was able to effectively spoil for a bit, which happens, it’s valuable for young fighters to experience that now and then.
But Mati was clearly winning the fight, too, and you can also say he showed good poise and patience, didn’t over-press, didn’t get careless. He did get clipped with a few Okoth right hands along the way, but stayed composed. The highlight was maybe Mati doing a Shawn Michaels kip-up in the sixth round, before he got the stoppage when Okoth appeared to suffer a leg injury: