Just moments ago we had a brutal treat from the Super Arena in Saitama as Gennady Golovkin (42-1-1, 37) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] unified the IBF Middleweight and WBA "Super" Middleweight titles, as he stopped Japanese tough guy Ryota Murata (16-3, 13) [村田 諒太] in a brilliant, brutal and hard hitting bout.
The first was nip and tuck as both men looked to get their distance punches into play, with both landing crisp and clean jabs. The round saw a lot of Murata pressing and pressuring behind his tight guard, and Golovkin showing off quicker handspeed and better footwork.
Muratra found his groove in round 2 and his pressure began to have real succes as he walked down the distance and get intosde to land left hooks to the body and some huge right hands up top, whilst walking though a lot of good work by Golovkin. Whilst Murata was having sustained success through the rounds, Golovkin was much more reserved and tended to throw eye catching combinations, rather than sustaining any work. It seemed clear that Golovkin, at the age of 40, knew he had to fight smartly, and not set a high tempo from the off.
By round 4 the bout was incredibly close, but that's where things began to change as Golovkin took over in round 5, setting a high work rate, and taking the fight to Murata more regularly. It was here that Murata began to slowly be worked down, chipped away at and forced to take more and more heavy shots. Golovkin's work rate, accuracy and power really began to tell in rounds 6 and 7, and although he was putting a lot in to the rounds, he was handing out a lot of punishment. Murata had moments in those rounds, but really struggled with consistency, and it seemed clear he was struggling to get Golovkin's respect. Whilst Golovkin clearly had his!
In round 8 it was clear Golovkin wanted to make a statemend and let his shots go regularly on Murata, who was forced to cover up, back up and head on to the ropes several times. It was now a real test not just of Murata's will to win, but his toughness and his chin. Some how he was holding up to the huge shots Golovkin was landing, but round by round they became ever more consistent, whilst his return fire became more and more limited. It was clear Golovkin was on his way to victory, but the real question was "How is Murata staying up?" as Golovkin began to land his much vaunted power shots almost at will.
In round 9, finally, Golovkin's powetr had the break through as he sagged Murata's legs early in the round and later on landed a brutal left hook, that rould have beheaded mere mortals. The shot turned damn near turned Murata around, before he sank to the canvas. Murata's team knew their man was done and threw in the towel whilst Murata must have wondered what had hit him.
Whilst this was a brilliant effort from Murata, who showed his toughness and grit, he really did come unstuck after round 4. And the punishment he took here, at the age of 36 probably spells the end of him as a top fighter. Maybe sending him into retirement, and more TV work, something that he's done quite a bit of and he has proven to be an excellent analyst.
As for Golovkin, he may have won the fight, but it's really hard to know what's next for him. He won, but he took punishment, and aged 40 this may well have been a last hurrah for a true legend of the sport. He clearly wants a third bout with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, but in reality we don't see that ending well for him, and it may well be time he sets off into the sunset on what was a great win, in a fantastic bout.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.