In amateur boxing Kazakhstan is one of the biggest forces in the sport. On the professional level hat success hasn't quite been repeated. Despite the fact the country isn't a major player in the professional ranks it does have one of the sports true stars and most exciting fighters, Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (31-0, 28). Golovkin, also known as “GGG” is the current WBA “super”, WBC “interim” and IBO Middleweight champion as well as one of the sports most exciting, talented and destructive fighters. The 32 year old, originally from Karaganda though now based in Stuttgart, has left a wake of destruction behind him in recent years and will be hoping to bulldoze through another opponent on February 21st as he returns to fight in Monaco for the 3rd time.
The well travelled Golovkin has has made his name globally. Originally it was in the amateurs that he caught the attention of fans though since turning professional he has fought Germany, Denmark, Panama, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, USA and Monaco. In each of those countries he has stopped opponents, battered them, beaten them and broken them. Not only has he been beating up opponents for fun but he has been doing it impressive and making light work of solid contenders, former champions and other top 10 level fighters.
What has made Golovkin so impressive is that he can box or bang and often combines his devastating power with clever boxing and an insane amount of intelligent pressure. The pressure often makes opponents fearful of throwing and the power punishes opponents who do feel confident enough to try and fight Golovkin off.
For many Golovkin's up coming bout will be his toughest as he takes on Britain's highly regarded Martin Murray (29-1-1, 12) a man who has never been dominated and, in the eyes of some, should be undefeated.
Murray isn't like Golovkin and isn't like anyone Golovkin has faced in recent years. He is a defensively sound, sharp puncher who is big, strong and confident. He's a man who marched over to Germany and pushed Felix Sturm all the way in a bout scored a draw then later went over the Argentina in front of 40,000 fans and gave Sergio Martinez a very hard bout on route to a controversial loss. In both of those bouts Murray was a visitor and gave a great account of himself in bouts many though he won courtesy of his tight defense, intense pressure and sharp counter punching.
What Murray does so well is neutralise fighters offensive work whilst slowly getting his offense off. He can be a slow started but he tends to find a way to stop opponents from getting going. If he can shut down Golovkin's offense then it would be very impressive though we suspect Golovkin will find holes, particularly around the mid section of the Brit. Those holes will be taken advantage of and we suspect the Kazakh will eventually break down Murray who lacks the fire power to keep Golovkin off him. It won't a 1-punch KO style from Golovkin, such as his win over Lujuan Simon in Germany or his Monaco debut against Nobuhiro Ishida, but it will be a gradual breaking down process that eventually sees Murray being saved.
If Murray can do the impossible and shut down Golovkin's offense then we could have a very interesting bout, especially if Murray wants to try and fight to his usual style. He's not the quickest or the heaviest handed but the Brit is well schooled and if he can begin to frustrate Golovkin with his defence then he may well find a way to steal rounds. Sadly however we think Golovkin, even if he struggles to land clean, will have the boxing ability to fall back on and take a clear decision win by simple boxing.
Of the two scenarios however we do suspect that Golokin will find holes and will break down Murray eventually, even if it does take a few rounds longer than some of his recent bouts. Murray may have been in with good fighters but none of them have been as good, as heavy handed or as intelligent as Golovkin and that is why Golovkin will do what others haven't and break down Murray.
From what we understand a win here for Golovkin will see return to action in the US in Summer as he continues to develop his reputation as one of the best fighters on the planet. It's hoped that that bout will be against Miguel Cotto as Golovkin finally gets a shot at the linear Middleweight title before a possible move to Super Middleweight either later this year or early next year.
(Image courtesy of www.sportsviewlondon.com)
The rise of Russian boxing in the last few years has been genuinely amazing. It's been as if a sleeping giant has awoken and began to slowly grab boxing by the the throat. This has seen fighters like Sergey Kovalev, Denis Lebedev, Evgeny Gradovich, Matt Korobov, Grigory Drozd and Khabib Allakhverdiev all make a name for themselves at, or around, the top of the professional ranks.
The next fighter from Russia attempting to move up a class is the unbeaten 27 year old Super Middleweight Fedor Chudinov (11-0, 9). Dubbed “The Classic” Chudinov is the younger brother of Dmitry Chudinov, the WBA interim Middleweight champion, and in the eyes of many Fedor is much better and more complete fighter.
This Thursday Fedor will be hoping to replicate his brother's interim success and claim the WBA interim Super Middleweight title. To do that however he will need to over-come the unbeaten Australian Ben McCulloch (14-0, 11), the recent PABA Super Middleweight champion.
For those who haven't seen Chudinov in action he is, as his record indicates, a heavy handed fighter. That was evident on his debut when he dropped Shawn Kirk with effectively his first real punch and Kirk was unable to, or rather unwilling to, beat the count. Within a year of his debut he was 4-0 (3) with only Cesar Ibarra managing to see the final bell. Although things progressed somewhat slowly over the following few years we've since seen Chudinov explode onto the scene with wins over the likes of Stjepan Bozic and the then unbeaten Andy Perez.
To date the only man to survive more than 5 rounds with Chudinov is the teak tough Jimmy Colas, an insanely tough French Light Middleweight. Despite being take then 10 rounds in that bout Chudinov won every round and showed he had stamina to go with his power.
With pressure and power it's fair to say Chudinov is a real threat to fighters at the lesser levels though we are awaiting to see how he copes with a fellow world class fighter, something we suspect we'll find out in 2016, that is if he wins his coming fight.
In McCulloch we have a somewhat unproven fighter though, like Chudinov, he appears to be a heavy handed fighter. Sadly however McCulloch's opposition so far has been terrible to say the least. The one time McCulloch was really tested was when he fought against Omar Shaick and was lucky to claim a split decision win. Since then McCulloch has faced some very limited opposition such as Yodkhunsuk Mor Poowana, who he fought back in August.
From what we've seen of McCulloch he has nothing to really put up a fight against Chudinov. That's not to say this isn't a step up for both men, though one man clearly has to be favoured over the other. Chudinov is much more proven than McCulloch and is fighting at home, appears heavier handed and is almost certainly going to be the more comfortable man in there, until McCulloch eventually folds.
(Image courtesy of vk.com)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.