Gennadiy Golovkin had a lot of trouble in the first five rounds of the fight with Ryota Murata.
Once an aged Golovkin got into a rhythm, however, the longtime middleweight champion battered the courageous Japanese title-holder over the final three-plus rounds of their middleweight title unification fight. Golovkin eventually dropped Murata in the ninth round and stopped him in a main event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Referee Luis Pabon stopped their bout at 2:11 of the ninth round because Murata’s trainer threw in the towel after he went down.
Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) retained his IBF middleweight title and won the WBA “super” 160-pound crown from Murata (16-3, 13 KOs).
¡Golovkin es campeón unificado WBA, IBF e IBO del peso medio! 🥇 Y le dice a Canelo Álvarez:
HOLA, AQUÍ ESTOY 😏
¡QUÉ PEDAZO DE COMBATE DE GGG! 🔥🔥🔥
#GGGMurata #BoxeoDAZN 🥊 pic.twitter.com/jCxR3f0HR2
— DAZN España (@DAZN_ES) April 9, 2022
Golovkin, who turned 40 on Friday, fought for the first time in 15½ months. Before he beat Murata, he hadn’t boxed since he dominated overmatched mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta in December 2020.
The Kazakhstan native’s victory over Murata secured his place in a potential third showdown with Canelo Alvarez on September 17. Mexico’s Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) now must beat WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for a third Alvarez-Golovkin fight to happen.
Murata, 36, suffered the first knockout or technical knockout loss of his career. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist previously lost a 12-round split decision to France’s Hassan N’Dam and a 12-round unanimous decision to Rob Brant, but he avenged both of those losses by technical knockout in immediate rematches.