By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Gennadiy Golovkin knows a difficult fight awaits him October 5.
If Golovkin gets past Sergiy Derevyanchenko, however, he is more than willing to travel to Japan to box Ryota Murata. That would technically be a middleweight title unification bout between Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs), who would hold the IBF title, and Japan’s Murata (15-2, 12 KOs), who owns the WBA’s secondary 160-pound championship.
It likely would pack a capacity crowd of nearly 60,000 into Tokyo Dome, too, because Murata is very popular in his native country.
“One-hundred percent. Absolutely, I am open for this,” Golovkin said through a translator Thursday before a press conference for his fight versus Derevyanchenko. “And, of course, we already made a first step with a world championship fight [with Derevyanchenko]. And absolutely, I’m looking forward [to fighting Murata]. It’s very, very important. I’m sure it’ll be a great fight.”
A Golovkin-Murata match has been discussed many times by Bob Arum, Murata’s co-promoter. Murata’s surprising unanimous-decision defeat to American Rob Brant last October 20 in Las Vegas rendered Golovkin-Murata meaningless, but Murata’s second-round destruction of Brant (25-2, 17 KOs) in their rematch July 12 in Osaka, Japan, reignited interest in that fight.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin needs alternatives within the middleweight division now that rival Canelo Alvarez has refused to fight Golovkin a third time. Alvarez’s decision has led Golovkin to a fight against Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) on October 5 at Madison Square Garden for the IBF middleweight title that was stripped earlier this month from Mexico’s Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs).
A fight with WBO champ Demetrius Andrade would be easy to make, as Golovkin and Andrade are contractually tied to DAZN. Golovkin thus far hasn’t exhibited much interest in boxing the unbeaten southpaw, though.
Murata, meanwhile, owes Brant a rematch, according to Brant’s promoter, Greg Cohen. A third bout between them won’t be an easy sell to fans or television/streaming executives because Murata demolished Dallas’ Brant in their second bout, but that doesn’t absolve Murata of his contractual obligation.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.