Gennadiy Golovkin looked older and slower than usual but still had enough to see off the WBA middleweight champion Ryota Murata in Japan.
Weathering some early-round body shots, “GGG” got better as the fight continued until Murata had enough into the ninth round.
Turning his back and wincing in pain, Murata’s corner threw in the towel as Golovkin unified the division again.
On his 40th birthday, due to the time difference in Japan, Golovkin was able to equal a record set by Bernard Hopkins.
The Kazakh puncher became only the second man to unify a division over forty.
GGG stops Murata in the 9th ????#GGGMurata pic.twitter.com/5WpaRf3sOd
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) April 9, 2022
Golovkin has held a world championship belt every calendar year since 2010. He built on his division record of successful title defenses, which now stands at 22.
He regained the IBF title in 2019 with a unanimous decision victory over top-rated contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko, a three-time world title challenger.
It was a hellacious toe-to-toe slugfest. Both had the frenzied crowd at Madison Square Garden on its feet for twelve rounds. Many considered it the Fight of the Year.
In his last fight, on December 18, 2020, Golovkin scored four knockdowns against undefeated mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta. He ended the fight in the seventh round.
Golovkin’s Big Drama Show has packed iconic arenas worldwide, selling out Madison Square Garden, The O2 in London, the Fabulous Forum and StubHub Center in Los Angeles, and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fighting for the first time competing in Japan, he put on another show for the fans.
His eleven-year rampage on the middleweight division has attracted millions of viewers who have watched him on premium cable, pay-per-view, and DAZN.
He earned an Olympic silver medal as a middleweight in the 2004 summer games in Athens.
CANELO vs. GOLOVKIN III
In taking the victory, Golovkin sets up a trilogy with Canelo Alvarez in September.
Canelo, who indeed should have suffered his first loss to Golovkin in the first meeting, has to beat Dmitry Bivol in May to cement his place.
If he does, the world will be watching to see if Golovkin can do the unthinkable. Can he finally end Canelo’s run stretching back to a 2013 loss to Floyd Mayweather?
That defeat remains the only flaw in the copybook the Mexican superstar possesses.
WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Furthermore, follow WBN us on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.