Middleweight boxing king Gennady Golovkin successfully defended his title for a 20th time Saturday night, seeing him level a record held by the legendary Bernard Hopkins.
Golovkin was far too good for Vanes Martirosyan, a late replacement for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on the night, stopping him with a brutal knockout in the second round.
As noted by Dan Rafael of ESPN, no fighter has defended more than 20 times in a row in the 160-pound class. Hopkins put together a streak of 20 that finished in 2005.
As noted by ESPN Stats & Info, Golovkin and Hopkins are a long way clear of their nearest rival in this category:
The win for GGG took his professional record to 38 wins from 39 fights; the only bout he hasn't won was the controversial draw with Alvarez last year. It was the 34th time the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight champion finished an opponent inside the distance.
He was the heavy favourite against Martirosyan at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and from the early stages, it became clear Golovkin would have too much. The Armenian-American had been inactive for two years before he was parachuted in for this one.
Afterward, Martirosyan paid tribute to the brute power Golovkin possesses in his fists. "It was like being hit by a train," he admitted, per Keith Idec of Boxing Scene. "It wasn't just one punch. It was all of his punches. It’s the hardest I've ever been hit."
Next time Golovkin takes to the ring, he'll be hoping to beat Hopkins' record. And according to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, we may see him in action again soon:
The boxing world wants to see him take on Canelo for a second time after their draw last year. However, the Mexican is currently serving a six-month suspension for failing two Voluntary Anti-Doping Association-administered drug tests.
Per Rafael, when asked whether he'd want to fight Alvarez again in September when Alvarez's suspension runs out, Golovkin said he was ready to take on all comers.
"Absolutely," he said after the win over Martirosyan. "I want everyone. I have lots of belts. I challenge anyone to come and take my belts. I don't care who it is. Let's clean the division out."