Gennadiy Golovkin stops Ryota Murata in the War of Saitama

40-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin survived an early challenge from Ryota Murata to collapse and stop the younger fighter in round 9.

The day after his 40th birthday, Gennadiy Golovkin showed his endurance in a brutal war with Ryota Murata at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Golovkin (42-1-1, 36 KOs) fought in Murata’s backyard and TKOed the 36-year-old in round 9, but it wasn’t easy for Golovkin.

The finish was classic Golovkin. During the fight, he wore Murata down and hit with a right hand that wobbled Murata and forced him to take a knee.

Knowing their fighter was too damaged to continue, Murata’s corner (16-3, 13 KOs) threw in the towel. Golovkin added Murata’s WBA belt to his claim for the middleweight crown, which included the IBF belt.

Golovkin finished the show impressively, but Murata caused problems for Golvkin early on.

Unlike most Golovkin opponents, Murata went straight for Golovkin from the opening round. The 6-foot Murata took advantage of its size and 5-inch reach advantage.

Gennadiy Golovkin dropped and stopped Ryota Murata in round 9 to become a unified middleweight champion

Murata probably won several of the first rounds on the judge’s scorecards, but round 6 served as a turning point in the fight.

Golovkin hit Murata with his right hand, causing Murata’s mouthpiece to fly out of his mouth. The referee stopped the action immediately, but Golovkin continued his attack when action resumed.

Murata’s punching power decreased and Golovkin’s energy increased. Golovkin exerted relentless pressure, systematically breaking down Murata.

It was a case of bending, not breaking, for Golovkin. He took Murata’s best punches early but used his stamina to knock Murata down.

With his victory, Golovkin is in prime position for a trilogy fight with undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez has a one-on-one deal with Matchroom Boxing starting May 7 against Dmitry Bivol.

Golovkin fought Alvarez to a tie in 2017 and lost the rematch in 2018 via majority decision. Both competitions were close, but a trilogy matchup would be one of boxing’s greatest fights.

Golovkin did his part. Now it’s Alvarez’s turn to follow suit. Gennadiy Golovkin stops Ryota Murata in the War of Saitama

John Verrall

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