gennadiy Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KO) won the IBF and WBA middleweight belts by stopping Ryota Murata in the ninth round, setting up a September trilogy bout with Canelo Alvarez.
In Saturday’s main event at Saitama Super Arena, ‘GGG’ got off to a sluggish start but came storming back with his signature power shots to secure a devastating stoppage in round nine. He was able to withstand the best that Murata (16-3, 13 KO) had to offer, eventually dropping the Japanese star in the ninth round, prompting Murata’s corner to throw the towel.
Murata caused some damage and even bullied Golovkin in the second and third rounds, despite Golovkin’s famed jab being sharp from the first round.
Murata’s quick start and unrelenting blows, particularly to the body, seemed to unsettle Golovkin. After four rounds, ‘Triple G’ appeared to have it all to do, but his capabilities were about to be revealed as he gained command from round five.
Golovkin gradually gained traction, causing significant damage in the sixth through eighth rounds. Murata attempted to make his own stands, but GGG gained momentum. By the eighth and ninth rounds, he was putting Murata on the ropes and putting up massive offensive rallies.
At the start of round nine, Golovkin landed a right hand that spelled the beginning of the end for Murata. Despite his best efforts to stay in the battle, another backhand stunned Murata, and his corner wisely threw in the towel.
“I’d like to thank Ryota Murata and his team. He was a true warrior, and he fought until the very end,” Golovkin said to the delight of the Saitama crowd.
Golovkin, who turned 40 on Friday, remains on a collision course with arch-rival Canelo Alvarez, with the pair likely to fight for the third time in 2022 if the Mexican defeats WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol next month in Las Vegas.