The Big Drama Show is back! In his much-anticipated DAZN debut, live from the Mecca of Boxing and in front of an electric crowd of 12,357 fans, pound-for-pound Kazakh superstar Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) once again proved he’s a force to be reckoned with as he returned to the ring and knocked out undefeated Toronto native Steve Rolls (19-1, 10 KOs) with a devastating left hook to the chin in Round 4 on Saturday night. This victory paves the way for what fans – and GGG himself – hope to be an epic trilogy showdown against middleweight king Canelo Alvarez in September.
Earlier in the evening, Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11 KOs), of Almaty, Kazakhstan, kept his undefeated streak alive with a dominant performance that ended in a TKO in Round 3 against New Orleans native Marcus McDaniel (15-1, 2 KOs) – making Akhmedov the new WBC International Super Middleweight Champion. And, unbeaten rising star Brian Ceballo (9-0, 4 KOs) of Brooklyn battled Bahktiyar Eyubov (14-1-1, 12 KOs), originally from Kazakhstan, now fighting out of Houston, in an 8-round slugfest that ultimately earned Ceballo a well-earned victory by unanimous decision.
Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin
Did he want to win by KO? “Thank you to my opponent Steve Rolls – he looks good, he looks strong. Ya of course, it’s my style. I wanted it. I tried just a couple first rounds, then I told Banks, I see, I see, and that’s it. Right now I feel completely different because I came back to my knockout. I love knockouts and I love new York. It was a great night all around.”
“I feel great. I feel like a new baby.”
“Of course I gave him close distance because he must work too. Because if there’s too much distance, it’s impossible, it’s too hard for me.”
Who does he want next? “Everybody knows. The fans know who they want me to fight next. I’m ready for September, I’m ready for Canelo. Just bring him, just ask him, I’m ready. If you want big drama show, please tell him. I’m ready to bring back the big drama show.”
Does he think the fight will happen? “I believe, because this is boxing. This is boxing business. Why not? The next fight will be amazing for us.”
Beat Canelo or get the belts back – which is more important? “I feel right now like the people’s champ. It doesn’t matter for me. I want to beat him but it doesn’t matter, I’m the people’s champion.”
Does he want the fight to be in NYC? “I want, I want guys!”
Johnathon Banks – Trainer to Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin
“It’s always good to get the knockout. I like what I saw in the ring for the short amount of time we had in camp. We can do better with a full camp. But we’re going in the right direction.”
“I feel great, we’ve done a great job and I was completely ready. So I’d like to thank everyone who came here today. This was my dream, to perform at Madison Square Garden and today I’m here and I’m happy. All I felt was happiness.”
How long did it take you to figure out Marcus McDaniel? “I was completely controlling the situation. I was listening to my trainer in the corner and we’ve done a great job.”
How he felt at this weight: “I feel myself, I feel excellent.”
“We did what we had to do to win tonight. Yes he was a tough opponent, we knew that coming in. We took this step up. We actually had another opponent lined up. Tom [Loeffler] came and said if you want to be on this card, you have to take this bout. We didn’t even hesitate. It’s time to showcase our skills and I think we did that tonight.”
“We have a big amateur pedigree. I have over 200 fights, 219 amateur fights. We’ve been all over the world, traveling, and we actually went to Kazakhstan back in 2015, and I loved it man. Everyone in Kazakhstan was so nice but we jumped on this opportunity because it was right on our angles. We needed a bigger step up from our last opponent, where we got a third round stoppage, and we thought this was the platform to do it – here in the Mecca of Boxing and on DAZN.”
“We worked so hard at the gym, on how to take shots. I don’t want to say that we should take shots but it’s boxing, things happen. I think all boxing champions get knocked down, all the greats – Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and they’re still the greatest to this day. I’m building up to this legacy, I’m building up to their legacy, maybe even surpass them. We’re here for the long run.”
On his next opponent: “I still look pretty I hope. We have to talk with our team on if we take another step up, or if we take it down a notch and take another step up after that.”
“My opponent is very durable, a tough guy, and we know that he goes the distance with everyone. I wanted to prove that I can stop the guy that nobody can. I worked slowly but I knew what I was going to do later rounds.”
On when he’ll be ready for a world title shot: “I was ready for the title shot. I was asking for it in my professional debut. I’ve been working on it. I asked after my first fight, my second fight, my third fight, I’m going to keep asking, and my promoter knows what to do. As soon as my promoter gives me the chances, I’m ready for the fight.”
“It was unexpected. I was training hard of this fight and I meant to throw the hard body shot, but I didn’t know that was going to be the outcome. I did not expect that. All my fights, I go for the body shot because that’s my favorite shot. I knew he wasn’t going to get up.”
What’s your best punch? “Every punch is devastating, but as you saw from the performance, it was a body shot. A lot of my knockouts come from my body shot. I was trying to go all the rounds and show people how good I can last, how long I last in the ring.”
Do you even need a shower right now? “No man, it was too quick, I’m good.”
12-Round Middleweight Bout @ 164 lbs.
Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin vs. Steve Rolls
Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) defeated Steve Rolls (19-1, 10 KOs) by KO at 2:09 of Round 4
10-Round WBC International Super Middleweight Title Bout @ 168 lbs.
Ali Akhmedov vs. Marcus McDaniel
Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11 KOs) defeated Marcus McDaniel (15-1, 2 KOs) by TKO at 1:41 of Round 3
8-Round Welterweight Bout @ 148 lbs.
Brian Ceballo vs. Bahktiyar Eyubov
Brian Ceballo (9-0, 4 KOs) defeated Bahktiyar Eyubov (14-1-1, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision
(80-72, 79-73, 78-74)
10-Round Super Welterweight Bout @ 154 lbs.
Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3 KOs) defeated Norberto Gonzalez (24-13, 13 KOs) by TKO at 2:11 of Round 6
10-Round USBA Jr. Middleweight Bout @ 154 lbs.
Charles Conwell (10-0, 7 KOs) defeated Courtney Pennington (12-4-3, 5 KOs) by unanimous decision
(97-92, 97-92, 96-93)
4-Round Nikita Ababiy Middleweight Bout @ 163 lbs.
Nikita Ababiy (5-0, 5 KOs) defeated Juan Francisco Barajas (5-1, 3 KO’s) by KO at 2:19 of Round 1
Boxing on DAZN returns on Saturday, June 21 at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino for the rematch featuring WBA Super Featherweight World Titlist Andrew Cancio defending his belt against Alberto Machado.