After months of waiting, postponements and more waiting we are finally on the verge of the Middleweight super fight between IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] and WBA "Super" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太], who will clash tomorrow at the Saitama Super Arena, in a major unification bout.
At the weigh in, both men came in bang on the 160lb limit and both looked in great shape, with a sense of both seriousness and respect across their faces.
On the scales Golovkin looked in great shape, despite the fact he's now 40 years old. He looked ripped and like a man in his prime physical condition for a fight he's taking incredibly seriously, even if the bookies and others see it as a foregone conclusion.
As for Murata he looked somewhat less cut than Golovkin, and even a touch fleshy. Compared to his rival he didn't look in peak physical condition, though he certainly didn't look bad as such and he has never been the uber-ripped looking type of fighter.
After the two men made weight they took part in a 20 second stare down, with Murata keeping an incredibly serious look, until smiling afterwards, as the respect between the two men showed.
Related - The Middleweight Division get a super fight as Golovkin and Murata face off!
Tomrrow in Tokyo fight fans will get the chance to see Japanese star Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥] return to a Japanese ring for the first time in over 2 years, as he looks to defend his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight world titles, as he takes on Thai challenger Aran Dipaen (12-2, 11) [แก่นนคร ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in the weigh in for their contest, and both men, unsurprisingly, made the 118lb weight limit with no issues at all. And both also looked in tremendous shape.
On the scales Inoue was bang on the the 118lb weigh limit, and he looked great, as he always does.
After making weight Inoue stated "Tomorrow is looking forward to the match in Japan for the first time in two years. Everyone is looking forward to it, so I would like to show you a wonderful match." It was also made clear that he will have a big bought in Spring next year, and he again made it clear that he wants to face either WBC champion Nonito Donaire or WBO champion John Riel Casimero.
Dipaen, a huge under-dog for this bout, was well under the limit, coming in at 117.5lbs, but he looked in outstanding shape for the bout himself. In fact he looked just as good as the Monster. He goes into this bout with no one expecting him to win, in fact most are expecting him to be blown out early, and will know that he has nothing to lose here.
Sadly for bouts wanting to watch this bout, it will only be on PPV, with Abema and Hikari both carrying the bout online.
Related - The monster returns to Japan to defend against Dipaen!
The next 24 hours or so are crazy for fans of the sweet science, with so much action taking place in such a little amount of time. One of the notable bouts which has gone a little under the radar is a WBA Super Bantamweight world title eliminator, as Tomoki Kameda (37-3, 20) [亀田和毅] battles Venezuelan fighter Yonfrez Parejo (24-4-1, 12) in Mexico, with the winner set to get a world title fight next year.
Yesterday, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men 122lb and both men hit the scales on the divisional limit.
After making weight Kameda thanked those involved in putting on the show and he also spoke about how happy he was to fight in Hermosillo for the first time on his career. He has fought, extensively, in Mexico before but he seemed really glad to be fighting in an area that has such strong boxing links. He also explained that he was happy to have been able to prepare for the bout there, and that he has been preparing for this bout for 3 months, which included sparring with world champions, such as Nonito Donaire.
Although he's prepared well Kameda did complain that he didn't have any of his favourite food and sports drink, which he would have had had the bout been at home in Japan.
As for Parejo, he came across as less confident and less relaxed, even though he stated that he would make the most of his opportunity here.
For those wanting to watch this one, the bout is reportedly going to be streamed live on Kameda's own YouTube channel.
On Friday night in the US we'll see IBF and WBA Super Bantamweight king Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7) [Муроджон Ахмадалиев] make his second defense, as he takes on late replacement challenger Jose Velasquez (29-6-2, 19). On Thursday the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, with both fighters making weight with no issues at all, and both looked in fantastic shape for the bout.
On the scales the champion was 121.8lbs, comfortably under the limit, whilst the challenger was 121.6lbs.
Despite both men weighing very similar weights it did look pretty clear that Akhmadliev was the naturally bigger man, being taller and thicker set. That however should be no real surprise given that Velasquez has typically been fighting as a Bantamweight, and is moving up in weight for this bout.
The contest wasn't the originally planned bout for "MJ" who was scheduled to defend against WBA mandatory challenger Ronny Rios (33-3, 16), who pulled out of the contest due to covid and was replaced on around a weeks notice by Velasquez. The Chilean challenger is a massive under-dog, but 25-1 in his last 26 bouts, and is unbeaten since 2016, whilst also avenging his most recent defeat.
For fans wanting to watch this bout, it will be aired on DAZN as part of a big Matchroom card.
Related - Akhmadaliev returns for second world title defense!
A week ago we got the official announcement that the long awaited Middleweight unification bout between IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин]and WBA "Super" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] was a done deal, with a press conference in Japan announcing the bout. The press conference confirmed that it would be on December 29th, at the Saitama Super Arena, and shown on DAZN around much of the world, and Amazon Prime in Japan.
There was no under-card announced, and no supporting bouts confirmed for the event.
That changed this morning when two major under-card bouts for the show were announced.
The "lesser" of those bouts is an all Japanese Lightweight bout as former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (27-3-1, 15) [伊藤 雅雪] takes on Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎], in a bout in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF Lightweight titles, both held by Yoshino.
This bout has been spoken about in Japan or over a year now, but had failed to come together due to Ito suffering an upset loss last December. Despite that it's still a very highly anticipated one, and one that both men were looking forward to, as they explained at a press event today to confirm the bout.
Yoshino, who has been one of if not the the top Lightweight in Japan for several years now, stated that "I'm only thinking about winning over Ito. I'm not thinking about the future". He also explained that he was happy to get a fight on such a big stage, and that it seems clear that he's looking at this as his chance to break out and make a name for himself internationally. Ito on the other hand showed his gratitude to those who helped put the bout together, explained that he was lucky for this chance and that he sees it as a crucial moment in his career.
The other bout announced is more likely to get international fans excited as WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (22-0, 17) [中谷 潤人] returns for his second defense, as he faces off with 22 year old Mexican challenger Cristian Gonzalez (14-1, 4).
Nakatani was last seen defending his title with an impressive performance in the US against Angel Acosta, making his US debut with that win, and got rave reviews from American fans. His inclusion on this card is a smart move, especially given the fact the Flyweight division is one with notable international interest thanks to world champions from Mexico, Ukraine and the UK. As for Gonzalez he is somewhat unknown outside of Mexico, but he does hold a win of note over perennial contender Saul Juarez, and has won 8 in a row since a 2019 loss to Angel Ayala Lardizabal.
At the press event to announce the bout Nakatani explained, "I'm glad to have a defense battle in such a historic event in Japan" and added that "It is an honour to be able to play a match at such a big event. I want to win and connect to the match between Mr. Murata and Golovkin."
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!