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Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Ryota Murata middleweight title unification clash set for Dec. 29 in Japan

Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Ryota Murata middleweight title unification clash set for Dec. 29 in JapanDAZN
Gennadiy Golovkin travels to Japan to face Ryota Murata in a middleweight title unification clash.

Many wondered if Gennadiy Golovkin would fight in 2021.

The answer is yes, as the IBF middleweight champion will square off against WBA (super) titlist Ryota Murata in a unification fight on December 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan which you can watch exclusively live on DAZN (excluding Japan and Kazakhstan).

It's been nearly a year since Golovkin has been in a boxing ring. He last fought in December when he dominated and stopped contender Kamil Szeremeta in the seventh round. 

"I am really excited to be bringing the Big Drama Show to Japan, a country where boxing is very popular," Golovkin said in a press release.  "Ryōta Murata has been an outstanding champion. It is going to be a special night when we meet in the ring to unify our titles. We are going to give the fans a great fight."    

But while Golovkin will be ending a 12-month absence, Murata, an Olympic gold medalist, will be lacing up the gloves for the first time in two years.

The Japanese boxing star usually fights twice a year, but his last contest was in December 2019, where he beat Canada's Steven Butler via fifth-round TKO to retain his then WBA (regular) title. However, that changed at the beginning of 2021 when the WBA elevated Murata to super champion when Canelo Alvarez vacated the belt to move up to super-middleweight.

"I feel that my entire amateur and professional boxing career has been a preparation for this fight against Gennadiy Golovkin," Murata said. "This fight will determine my place in the middleweight division and boxing history. Gennadiy Golovkin has long been the standard-bearer of the middleweight division. To me, he is still undefeated. I have the highest respect for him. It has been almost two years since my last fight, because of the pandemic, but I have put that time to good use, working very hard with my trainers on improving my physical conditioning and adding more power to my punches. I am so proud Japan is hosting this fight. It is a great honor for me."        

Watch highlights of Golovkin's last fight against Szeremeta below.

Watch on YouTube