Gennadiy Golovkin Defeats Ryota Murata by 9th-Round TKO

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 9, 2022

Kazakhstan's Gennady Golovkin (R) fights against Japan's Ryota Murata during their WBA IBF middleweight championship boxing bout at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on April 9, 2022. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) (Photo by PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIP FONG/AFP via Getty Images

Gennadiy "GGG" Golovkin scored a ninth-round technical knockout of Ryota Murata on Saturday at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Golovkin was tested in the early rounds as Murata was effective attacking the body, but the IBF and IBO middleweight champion was eventually able to gain control of the fight and delivered some heavy right hands in the ninth, leading Murata's corner to throw in the towel.

DAZN Boxing @DAZNBoxing

GGG stops Murata in the 9th 💥<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GGGMurata?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GGGMurata</a> <a href="https://t.co/5WpaRf3sOd">pic.twitter.com/5WpaRf3sOd</a>

GGG's record improved to 42-1-1, and he added the WBA super middleweight title to his collection. Murata dropped to 16-3 with the loss.

Questions about how the longtime middleweight champion would perform after a 16-month layoff appeared appropriate in the early going as he struggled to defend his Japanese counterpart's relentless attacks to the body.

Murata, who was also coming off an extended break, having last fought in December 2019, wasn't able to find the one crushing blow that could have given him the upset, though.

The tide began to turn in the sixth round when Golovkin connected on a quick shot that sent his opponent's mouthpiece flying:

DAZN Boxing @DAZNBoxing

GGG knocks out Murata's mouthpiece 👀 <a href="https://t.co/xAha9aJOdT">pic.twitter.com/xAha9aJOdT</a>

GGG retained the advantage pretty much from that point forward and wore Murata down to the point where his corner had little choice but to call off what was becoming a one-sided fight.

The win came one day after Golovkin turned 40, and it kept the Kazakhstani superstar on a path toward a trilogy fight against Canelo Alvarez.

Gennadiy Golovkin @GGGBoxing

This is for my Kazakhstan! 🇰🇿 <a href="https://t.co/muydbqRfdV">pic.twitter.com/muydbqRfdV</a>

In February, ESPN's Mike Coppinger reported Alvarez signed a two-fight, $85 million contract with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN that would finally deliver the long-awaited third clash with Triple G as long as both fighters won their next bouts.

Golovkin took care of his side of the bargain and told Coppinger before the fight with Murata he wasn't sure why it took so long for Alvarez to agree on another encounter.

"That is a question you should ask Canelo," he said. "After the rematch, when everyone wanted to see a third fight, he did everything he could to avoid it. He even took his promoter to court. Who knows?"

Regardless of the reason for the delay, the high-profile showdown will finally arrive if Canelo takes care of business against Dmitry Bivol on May 7. He'll be a heavy favorite.

Teddy Atlas @TeddyAtlasReal

Not too bad for 40 yrs old. GGG still knows how to behave and fight like a champion. Tremendous effort and he was tested early. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GGGMurata?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GGGMurata</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/boxing?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#boxing</a>

Meanwhile, Golovkin was able to shake off the rust against Murata and should have no shortage of motivation as he attempts to level the score with Alvarez. They fought to a draw in September 2017, and the Mexican sensation won the rematch by majority decision in September 2018.

While GGG is no longer at his peak, he showed in the latter rounds Saturday why he's still dangerous once he finds a rhythm on the attack.