Ryota Murata to defend WBA "regular" title against Steven Butler in December, Fuji to stack the show
According to multiple reputable sources a deal is now close to being done for WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] to defend his belt against once beaten Canadian Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24).
The story has been doing the rounds for a week or two now, and now appears to have moved from talks to being pretty much complete, in what will be the headline bout for Fuji TV's final card of 2019.
At the moment it appears the date will be much earlier in the year than previous Fuji year enders, with a pre-Christmas date being rumoured for the bout, though official announcements will be made in the near future confirming the date and venue.
Murata, a 2-time champion, won this belt back when he beat Rob Bran by TKO in the summer. He looked like he had found a new gear in his pressure in that win after looking 1-paced and fundamentally slow in his loss to Brant in 2018. The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner is clearly eyeing up bigger fights in 2020 and the ling rumoured fight with Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin's (40-1-1, 35) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] is again doing the rounds in the Japanese press, for next year. Sadly we've long heard about Murata's chase for Golovkin and nothing has materialised so if that bout doesn't take place we would be disappointed but not surprised.
The 24 year old Butler was a solid amateur with a 50-5 record, of course that doesn't compare to Murata and his Olympic gold medal but still solid. He turned professional in 2014 and like many prospects he was super active early on with 9 bouts in his first 9 months as a professional. By the end of 2016 he was 18-0-1 (15) but would lose in January 2017 to Brandon Cook, who is best known for losses to Jaime Munguia and Kanat Islam. Since that loss he has bounced back with 12 wins and was tipped to to be Demetrius Andrade's next opponent.
At the moment the deal is being finalised though it's expected that Teiken will hold a press conference in the next 10 days to announce the bout. The shame show is also expected to featured WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] and the return to the ring for former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] and could feature 1 other noteworthy bout as Fuji look to end the year in style.
We know we've been a bit slow on this one!
Tomorrow we'll see Kazakh icon Gennady Golovkin's (39-1-1, 35) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] attempted to reclaim the IBF Middleweight title as he takes on Ukrainian fighter Sergey Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10) at Madison Square in New York.
The bout looks an interesting one on paper, and is obviously a bout that has caught the attention of the bookies, with a number of bookies offering odds on the bout.
The UK bookies have priced Golovkin a very clear favourite. The Kazakh is best priced at 2/9 at the time of writing whilst Derevyanchenko is a 4/1 under-dog. The draw, for those interested, is best priced at 33/1 and is widely available at 22/1.
The method of victory market is more interesting in many ways. Golovkin is best priced at 13/10 to score a stoppage win, which would be Derevyanchenko's first stoppage loss, and the Kazakh is priced at 6/4 to score the decision win. Derevyanchenko on the other hand is 8/1 to win a decision and 12/1 to take a stoppage, which would be a huge shock given how solid Golovkin's chin has proven to be over the years.
One thing worth noting is that the bout is priced at 19/20 to go the scheduled 12 rounds and evens to not go the distance.
Whilst we do see a Golovkin win, it will be very interesting to see how he gets it.
Related - Golovkin and Derevyanchenko clash for IBF crown!
Tomorrow we'll see Gennady Golovkin (39-1-1, 35) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] and Sergey Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10) battle for the IBF Middleweight title at Madison Square Garden, in the New York.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both fighters came in comfortably under the Middleweight limit.
Golovkin, the former IBF, WBA and WBC champion, was 159.2lb on the scales whilst Derevyanchenko was a little bit lighter at 159lbs.
For the 37 year old Kazakh, who looked in great shape, the weight is the lightest he's been since he beat Kell brook just over 3 years ago, and is almost 4lbs lighter than he was in June when he beat Canadian foe Steve Rolls.
Derevyanchenko, who also looked in excellent condition, was pretty his usual weight, he was the same last time out against Jack Culcay, and has been 159lbs in 3 of his last 6. What is notable is he is much lower than his heaviest weight, which is 166lbs for his 2015 bout with Vladine Biosse.
The loser of this bout will be in a tough place, and although Golovkin is strongly favoured the bout is certainly not a gimme, especially not when you consider Golovkin is 37 and has shown signs of slow down in some recent bouts.
Related - Golovkin and Derevyanchenko clash for IBF crown!
Fast rising Light Middleweight Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3) [Исроил Мадримов], from Uzbekistan, has now been confirmed as one of two Central Asian fighters set to be in action in the under-card of Gennady Golovkin's (39-1-1, 35) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] IBF Middleweight title bout Sergey Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10).
The talented and hard hitting Madrimov has his opponent for the bout named as Alejandro Barrera (29-5, 18).
Whilst we are huge fans of Madrimov, and his desire to be moved quickly, we do wonder why he's facing off with the 33 year old Barrera, who has lost 3 of his last 4 and been mostly fighting at Welterweight. Whilst that alone doesn't make him a bad opponent, it needs to be said that he's not fought in over a year and is more than 2 years removed from his last win. For a fighter like Madrimov, who needs to face someone able to test him and ask questions of him, this seems too much of a mismatch to be an interesting contest, and instead looks likely to be an easy blow out win for the Uzbek.
The other Central Asian fighter set for the under-card is Ali Akhmedov (15-0, 11) [Али Ахмедов], though his opponent for a scheduled 10 round bout has yet to be announced. He's coming in on the back of good wins over the likes of Marcus McDaniel and Mike Guy, so hopefully his opponent will be someone who is more interesting on paper than Barrera.
The last few weeks have been weird ones for the Middleweight division, and DAZN's stable of Middleweights. Plans for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez to fight have been changed, more than once, and he has been stripped of the IBF Middleweight title due to his team failing to secure a mandatory defense of the belt against Ukrainian fighter Sergey Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10).
Today Derevyanchenko seemed to post the date, venue and opponent for his next bout, and for us that was exciting news as he seemingly revealed he would be facing former WBA, WBC and IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (39-1-1, 35) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин], with the now vacant IBF title being on the line.
The Ukrainian took to social media to post an image that appeared stating would be taking place at Madison Square Garden on October 5th, giving us a bout that was actually ordered back when Golovkin was the IBF champion and declined a mandatory title defence against Derevyanchenko.
The once beaten Kazakh will be looking to become a 2-time world champion here as he looks to recapture a title that was stripped from him for turning down Derevyanchenko in 2018. He was hoping to fight Alvarez this year, in what would have completed a trilogy between the two men who have fought two ultra-close and entertaining bouts in the last 2 years.
As for Derevyanchenko this will be his second shot at a world title, having come up short against Daniel Jacobs in a bout for the IBF title last year, in what was a bout for the title that had been stripped from Golovkin. Despite the loss to Jacobs he showed he belonged at world level, and only lost a split decision to the talented American.
At the age of 37 Golovkin will know he can't afford another loss however a win here does move him one step closer to securing one more major pay day before his career comes to an end. Derevyanchenko, who turns 34 at the end of October, will likely know it's now or never if he's to become a world champion.
Of course at the moment it is just the Ukrainian's social media that seems to have "confirmed" the bout, though we expect an official announcement in the coming days
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