Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata to bypass summer fights, face each other next

Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Dan Rafael reported Wednesday that middleweights Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata appear headed towards a unification fight next, bypassing the summer tune-ups that had been previously discussed.

Part of the reason for scrapping the interim bouts is to avoid potential injuries or cuts that could jeopardize the unification, tentatively scheduled for December 28 in the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. As Rafael notes, the tune-up fights were intended to drive up interest in the matchup, as well as to allow both boxers to shake off rust after long absences from the ring.

Regarding the issue of creating buzz for this matchup, both teams are probably wise to prioritize the health of their boxers over promoting a unification with interim bouts. Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KO) has a solid fan-base who are more interested in seeing him take on the likes of Derevyanchenko (who he defeated to win the vacant IBF belt in October 2019) and Murata than the Steve Rolls and Kamil Szeremetas of the division.

As far as Murata (16-2, 13 KO) is concerned, he is a massive star in Japan after winning Gold for his country at the 2012 Olympics, and won’t need to go the extra mile to sell a fight of this stature. He doesn’t hold the same sort of name value in the US, despite being elevated to WBA “Super” champion at middleweight after Canelo’s move up, but a legitimate unification fight in a glamour division should be sellable on its own.

The issue of ring rust is a real one, though. Golovkin is 39 years old, and fought only once in 2020 following a year-plus layoff after winning the title against Derevyanchenko in 2019. Murata hasn’t entered the ring since stopping Steven Butler in December 2019, and is two years removed from his demolition of Rob Brant in their rematch.

That being said, both men are excellent technicians with serious punching power, which goes a long way in staving off the kind of ring rust that would detract from the product in the ring. This matchup will be presented on DAZN, which is great for the platform considering Canelo’s next fight will be on PPV. Who knows, maybe DAZN will even be able to get the winner to take on Demetrius Andrade.


I thought Murata was Top Rank?

I guess it doesn’t affect me either way since I could get it on either of the two streaming platforms available in Canada, but I would have assumed that Bob would have insisted that GGG cross the street.

Murata is part of the co-promotional deal that Top Rank and Teiken have. Monster and Subaru are also included in the deal.
Bob will get his cut.

Good fight, but too bad DAZN couldnt manage to do GGG-Andrade uni

If GGG wins here, that would still be an obvious play for 2022 and probably a 50/50 matchup as GGG turns 40 next spring.

I don’t think Andrade will be able to wait around at 160… they were already saying he needed to move up to 168 last year.

Technically he can vacate and claim his spot in line for Nelo’s WBO mandatory but there’s no real guarantee that gets him the fight (at least not in a timely manner).

As an Andrade fan I’m hoping he and Eddie are willing to roll the dice and either send Boo Boo over to Al’s house for a 168 match up with Benavidez OR entice Bivol down to 168 since they both need a real fight badly.

More likely tho is that Canelo vacates the WBO to go to 175 and Boo Boo gets to fight some hapless rando for the belt while making no commercial or technical progress.

As an Andrade fan

We found the one Andrade fan, guys!!!

It will be fun. Still, that’s a long time to wait for a fight with Murata. Oh well.


I understand New Year’s Eve is a big boxing time for Japan, but I thought ggg would at least fight once sooner before this Murata fight

There was a time where ggg made it out to be that he was the most avoided fighter, and that all he cared about was legacy and not business, it now seems different

Is that fair to say? Idk, but he seems like he’s changed from his original persona

It’s definitely fair to say. Went from being the guy calling everyone out to the guy getting called out.

Wow it’s almost like fighters are different at nearly 40 years old than they were in their early 30s. Wild

Not the Big Drama Show anymore

I’m disappointed in Golovkin’s choices for opponents his last 3-4 fights. This is not the same GGG who sought to put on a show for the fans, boxing up to 4 times a year. On the one hand, I understand he is older and can’t keep up as he once did but I feel this change in fighting schedule as well as the quality of opposition took a turn for the worse when he signed a lucrative contract with DAZN. I’d argue that Golvokin himself fell into obscurity after signing that contract. He should stick to who he is and go out like that—a people’s champion who fears no one. With who he’s choosing to fight these days I prefer he retire rather than his reputation—as far as his legacy is concerned—continues to take a hit.


golovkin is 39 years old, and an old 39 at that. dude had 400 amateur fights and had one hell of a stride up until 2018. dude spoiled us and it’s only natural to want him to keep going but let’s give the guy a break. and it’s not like murata is a push over.
i’ll save my complaints for fighters in their primes, with plenty of opponents, who’d rather sit on the shelf tweeting nonsense every saturday night.

anyway. on an unrelated note, big shout out to my man terrence crawford out in omaha.

I don’t agree with you guys. His legacy is very solid in my opinion. He’s on of the top 10, probably a little higher middleweights of all time in my opinion. His last fight was Derevyanchenko for cripes sake. Derevyanchenko Beat Charlo IMO. GGG is entitled to fight less often at 39 years old and this is a very solid fight against Murata. Looking forward to it (although wish we didn’t have to wait five months).

Derevyanchenko Beat Charlo????

"Derevyanchenko Beat Charlo"

is 118-110 level bad

His last fight was with Szremeta actually. GGG was also a pretty heavy favorite over Derev if I’m remembering correctly, and I thought he should have lost that fight tbh.

GGG’s legacy will never be rated as high as it should/could be, his resume simply is strong at all; his best official win is probably Jacobs?

The fight with Murata is a good/great fight though. Murata is limited but tough, and GGG has def declined. 3-5 years ago, GGG wipes Murata out, now it’s probably 65-35 in GGG’s favor.

I still think he will wipe Murata out…

GGG will lose

Ring rust and old age will catch up with him and he hasn’t looked very sharp since the Canelo rematch – where even there I thought he was on the verge of getting knocked out. Time for him to call it a career

He clearly didn’t like the body work Nelo was putting in in the rematch, but at what stage did he appear to be on the verge of being knocked out? This is even dumber seeing how GGG mounted his best offense as the fight wore on.

Big GGG fan, but I’m of the same opinion that the 2nd Canelo fight was trending toward a stoppage around the end of the 8th round when all the body shots and his inability to land consistently left GGG looking pretty discouraged and beat up. Abel’s "we’re behind G" in the corner after that round, coupled with Canelo’s gassing out a little brought him back from the brink.

That said, even an old, faded GGG absolutely launches Murata into the stratosphere.

No it’s not a dumb take, watch the fight again but do it sober. Somewhere in the middle of the fight. It wasn’t that he was obviously hurt or noticeably staggered but you could tell that GGG was being outgunned and had Canelo been able to keep up the attack he might landed the KO. Canelo had the momentum but GGG rallied back at the end to make it competitive. Rewatch the fight, GGG’s rally was undermined by crappy scoring as it should have been a draw or GGG’s second victory against Canelo.

I was once a GGG hater but this fight turned me into a fan. I know what I saw – a great comeback. After 9 rounds, all three judges had their scores at 87-84 for Canelo

but do it sober.


Haha, fair enough. Crack a few or pour some scotch.

Had no clue either of these guys held belts. Considering the layoffs just more evidence how meaningless fake titles are. This will be a very good fight. Much better than if Demetrious was in it

He needs to fight Andrade next , at 40 that’s a huge legacy fight

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