IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) used his superior power and skills to take apart and finally stop WBA champion Ryota Murata (16-3, 13 KOs) by a ninth-round knockout on Saturday night at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Golovkin dropped Murata with a huge right hand to the head in the ninth. Murata’s corner chose to halt the fight rather than letting him try and get up. As bad hurt as Murata was, he wasn’t going to be able to continue fighting even if the corner hadn’t thrown in the towel.
The 40-year-old Golovkin looked his age in the first four rounds, getting tagged repeatedly by the hard-hitting 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata. However, in the sixth round, Golovkin hurt Murata with a right to the head, and that changed the complexion of the fight.
From that point on, Golovkin teed off on an exhausted and hurt Murata. In the eighth round, Murata was trapped against the ropes taking a beating from Golovkin, but the Japanese star barely made it out of the round.
Undercard results for Golovkin vs. Murata.
- WBO flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (23-0, 18 KOs) had too much firepower for his light-hitting opponent Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7 KOs) tonight, battering him until the referee Katsuhiko Nakamura was forced to wave off the contest in the eighth round. The 24-year-old Nakatani stunned Yamauchi with a right hand in the eighth round. He then poured it on, nailing Yamauchi at will with shots while he tried to cover up. The time of the stoppage was at 2:20 of round eight.
- In an exciting slugfest, #14 WBC Lightweight contender Shuichiro Yoshino (15-0, 11 KOs) beat Masayuki Ito (27-4-1, 15 KOs) by a disappointing technical decision in the 11th round. The two warriors bumped into each other, resulting in former WBO super featherweight champion Ito suffering an injury and being unable to continue. The scores were 106-103, 107-102, and 106-103.
The general consensus is that Golovkin, 40, needs a knockout of Murata to make boxing fans excited bout seeing him and Canelo fight this September in their trilogy match.
Needless to say, there’s huge pressure on Gennadiy to win tonight so he can get the trilogy match against Canelo, but he almost must look good.
As Golovkin’s old coach Abel Sanchez said, it would be bad for him if he takes punishment against Murata and struggles to win.
Sanchez believes the boxing public will lose faith in Golovkin if he can’t stop Murata, as they won’t give him any chance of beating Canelo in September due to his age, lackluster performances, and inactivity.
Golovkin will need to push a fast pace, go on the attack, and not let up if he hopes to knock out Murata because the 2012 Olympic gold medalist can take a good shot.
Golovkin probably won’t be able to KO Murata with a single shot as he’s done with many of his past opponents.
Against the better fighters, Golovkin has consistently failed to stop them. He couldn’t KO these fighters: Canelo Alvarez, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and Daniel Jacobs.
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) April 9, 2022
Murata is at least as good as Derevyanchenko and Jacobs, so it’s going to take a lot of effort on Golovkin’s part if he wants to knock him out tonight.
It’s surprising how many boxing fans believe Gennadiy is going to look depleted, old & over-the-hill tonight against Murata.
Many people think that Golovkin is going to fall apart after his 16-month layoff, and is slightly rusty showing in his last fight against Kamil Szeremeta.
In that fight, Gennadiy appeared to be taking his time, not pushing the issue against his overmatched IBF mandatory.
One got the sense from watching the fight that Golovkin was carrying Szeremeta and could have taken him out in the first round if he wanted.
With Golovkin’s punching power, that’s not magically going to disappear after 16 months of inactivity and having turned 40.
The Kazakhstan-born Golovkin has only taken punishment in his fights against Kassim Ouma, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and Canelo Alvarez during his career.
IBF middleweight champion Golovkin just turned 40 last Friday and hasn’t fought since December 2020. Although he wanted to get back into the ring much sooner, he was committed to the Murata fight.
— Gennadiy Golovkin (@GGGBoxing) April 9, 2022
Unfortunately, its talent a lot longer than originally expected for the Golovkin-Murata fight to take place. Golovkin likely wouldn’t have taken the Murata fight if he realized that it would chew up this amount of time to finally get it out of the way.
In Murata’s case, his last contest was in December 2019 and has never fought anyone near the caliber of GGG during his nine-year career.
You got to imagine that Murata will be rusty tonight, and not look as good as he did in his last title defense against Steven Butler.
Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) and Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) will shake off the ring-rust tonight when they meet in the headliner in front of a huge crowd at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The fight action will be shown live on DAZN.
Gennadiy and WBA champion Murata will be meeting in a unification fight, a contest that was supposed to have taken place last year. Golovkin needs a win over the upset-minded Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) to get a third fight with Canelo Alvarez in September.