21/07/22 13:48:04.30 CAP_USER9.net
Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata to bypass summer fights, face each other next
The unification is reportedly being scheduled for December 28 in Saitama, Japan
By Jonathon Henschel on July 21, 2021 5:00 pm
Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images
Dan Rafael reported Wednesday that middleweights Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata appear headed towards a unification fight next, bypassing the summer tune-ups that had been previously discussed.
Part of the reason for scrapping the interim bouts is to avoid potential injuries or cuts that could jeopardize the unification, tentatively scheduled for December 28 in the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. As Rafael notes, the tune-up fights were intended to drive up interest in the matchup, as well as to allow both boxers to shake off rust after long absences from the ring.
Regarding the issue of creating buzz for this matchup, both teams are probably wise to prioritize the health of their boxers over promoting a unification with interim bouts. Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KO) has a solid fan-base who are more interested in seeing him take on the likes of Derevyanchenko (who he defeated to win the vacant IBF belt in October 2019) and Murata than the Steve Rolls and Kamil Szeremetas of the division.
As far as Murata (16-2, 13 KO) is concerned, he is a massive star in Japan after winning Gold for his country at the 2012 Olympics, and won’t need to go the extra mile to sell a fight of this stature. He doesn’t hold the same sort of name value in the US, despite being elevated to WBA “Super” champion at middleweight after Canelo’s move up, but a legitimate unification fight in a glamour division should be sellable on its own.