Gennady Golovkin and Ryota Murata agree middleweight unification bout

Gennady Golovkin and Ryota Murata confirm middleweight unification bout for December 29 in Japan with IBF and WBA belts set to go on the line on a WEDNESDAY

  • Gennady Golovkin and Ryota Murata will fight in Saitama on December 29
  • GGG has held IBF and IBO middleweight belts since October 2019
  • Murata reclaimed WBA middleweight belt after beating Rob Brant in July 2019 
  • Golovkin said fight against Murata ‘will be a special night of boxing’
  • Japanese said bout against Golovkin will ‘determine his place in boxing history’ 

Gennady Golovkin and Ryota Murata will collide in an unification fight in Japan at the end of the year, the two boxers confirmed on Saturday.

The bout has been scheduled for December 29 in Saitama and will see the Kazakhstan-born fighter put his IBF middleweight title on the line, with the Japanese’s WBA belt also at stake. Unusually for such a high-profile event, the bout will take place on a Wednesday.

Golovkin first claimed his title, which was originally vacated by Canelo Alvarez, when he defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko on points in October 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Ryota Murata and Gennady Golovkin will meet in a unification bout in Saitama on December 29

The win over the Ukrainian also saw Golovkin claim the vacant IBO title, which he successfully defended along with the IBF belt against Poland’s Kamil Szeremeta in December last year.

GGG, as the Kazakh is commonly, however, hasn’t fought since.   

‘I am really excited to be bringing the Big Drama Show to Japan, a country where boxing is very popular,’ he said.

‘Ryota Murata has been an outstanding champion. It is going to be a special night when we meet in the ring to unify our titles.

The Kazakh defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko on points in October 2019 to claim the IBF middleweight title that had been left vacant by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez

‘We are going to give the fans a great fight.’ 

Murata, meanwhile, first won his WBA’s regular middleweight belt when Cameroon’s Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam retired seven rounds into their fight in Tokyo in October 2017.

The 2012 middleweight Olympic champion was stripped of his title a year later when he lost to Rob Brant by unanimous decision in Las Vegas, but regained his belt by stopping the American two rounds into their rematch in July 2019 in Osaka.

Five months later, Murata successfully defended his title by stopping Canada’s Steven Buttler in five rounds in Yokohama.

Golovkin defended his belt against Poland’s Kamil Szeremeta in December last year

Four years younger than Golovkin at 35, the Japanese described the upcoming bout with the Kazakh star as the culmination of his professional career. 

‘I feel that my entire amateur and professional boxing career has been a preparation for this fight against Gennady Golovkin,’ he said.

‘This fight will determine my place in the middleweight division and boxing history.’

‘Gennady Golovkin has long been the standard-bearer of the middleweight division. To me, he is still undefeated. I have the highest respect for him.’

Murata (right) reclaimed his WBA middleweight crown in July 2019 and has defended it since

The Japanese also touched on the importance of fighting in front of what should be a partisan in his home crowd. Murata’s last bout came almost two years ago and he worked hard during the hiatus enforced by the coronavirus pandemic.

‘It has been almost two years since my last fight, because of the pandemic, but I have put that time to good use, working very hard with my trainers on improving my physical conditioning and adding more power to my punches,’ he added.

‘I am so proud Japan is hosting this fight. It is a great honour for me.’ 

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