Ryota Murata Surrenders WBA Title to Gennady Golovkin!
There was plenty at stake as IBF middleweight champ Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) took on WBA belt-holder Ryota Murata (16-3, 13 KOs) at the Saitama Arena in Saitama, Japan. With 21 total middleweight title defenses during two separate reigns as world champ, GGG has been one of the stars of the middleweight division for nearly a decade. His two wars with Canelo Alvarez in September 2017 and September 2018 were epic bouts for the contemporary boxing enthusiast.
In line for a trilogy with Alvarez later this year, the now 40-year-old had to take care of business against Murata. Fighting on home soil, the WBA champ is a superstar in Japan. Viewed as an underdog going in, the former 2012 Olympian came in wanting to shut up the skeptics in what was the most significant Japanese boxing event in recent memory.
OFF TO A SLOW START
It is custom for Golovkin to feel out an opponent in the early rounds. It was the case in this fight as he opened matters by establishing the jab, then throwing occasional uppercuts and hooks to the body. Murata was the aggressor, firing away with combinations in hopes of making “GGG” fight off the back foot.
One weakness of Golovkin is that he can be hurt by body punches. Murata continued to press the action, ensuring to focus punches to the midsection whenever possible. He was walking through the shots of Golovkin and pushing him back.
BEGINNING TO WARM UP
The IBF champ started to find his rhythm in the middle rounds. Golovkin began popping Murata with jabs, then stepping around to land hard hooks and uppercuts to the head and body. The punches were starting to show on Murata, who wasn’t fighting with the same force he showed in the earlier rounds.
A big right hand from Golovkin stunned Murata early in the ninth. It was at that moment that “GGG” started to smell blood. He poured on the shots as the WBA champ was wincing from the shots. With fifty-five seconds to go in the round, a hard right hand further hurt Murata. The pride of Japan turned away and went down on one knee. It was at this point, that his corner threw in the towel.
With the win, Golovkin is now the unified world middleweight champ. After a slow start, he took over. He hopes that his next fight is the third fight with Alvarez, provided that the current undisputed super middleweight champ defeats WBA Super world light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol on May 7.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.