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Gennadiy Golovkin outlasts brave Ryota Murata to unify middleweight titles in terrific battle

GGG-Murata_0904 Philip Fong/ AFP

Gennadiy Golovkin weathered an early storm from Ryota Murata as he unified the IBF and WBA middleweight titles with a ninth-round stoppage over a brave Ryota Murata in Japan. Depending on Canelo Alvarez’s result against Dmitry Bivol on May 7, Golovkin could be set to face his old rival later this year in what could turn out to be a remarkable 2022 for the Kazakh star. 

Golovkin was having his first fight in over a year and his time away looked like it could haunt him in the fight’s early rounds. Murata made a fast start and his relentless attacks, especially to the body, appeared to be unsettling Golovkin. After four rounds, ‘GGG’ looked like he had it all to do, but his qualities were about to be displayed as he took over from round five. 

Throwing his trademark short jab with menacing authority, Golovkin began to hurt Murata frequently and the early work enjoyed by the home fighter would be his undoing. With his output dropping alarmingly, Murata couldn’t provide an answer to Golovkin’s assaults, and the end looked near as the fight went into the second half. 

At the start of round nine, Golovkin found a right hand that spelt the end for Murata. Despite his best efforts to stay in the fight, another backhand floored Murata and the towel sensibly came in from his corner. Golovkin can now look forward to a potential third fight with Canelo, but for Murata, his dreams of another big fight must wait. 

For all the updates from today's show in Japan, please read below.

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Golovkin stops Murata in round nine

Golovkin's right hand hurt Murata at the start of round nine and the Japanese man couldn't recover. Despite an effort to stay in the fight, Golovkin floored him and the towel came flying in immediately. Great corner work from Murata's team who saved their man for another day. An excellent fight.

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round Eight

Murata output slowing but he is still trying. This fight looks so much different from the early rounds as Golovkin is bossing things. We're entering the late stages. Who will finish stronger? 10-9 Golovkin

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round Seven

GGG is enjoying himself. Murata's excellent start appears to have taken a lot from him. He's being pushed back a lot more and Golovkin is having so much success with the jab and left hook. This brilliant fight has well and truly turned in Golovkin's favour. 10-9 Golovkin

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round Six

The Golovkin of old is on display now. A solid right at the start of the round removed Murata's gumshield and GGG took over from there. The most one-sided round of the fight so far. Is Golovkin about to take over? 10-9 Golovkin. 

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round Five

A better round for Golovkin and he needed it. He's landing left hands a lot more and some looked like they troubled Murata. Golovkin needs more rounds like this if he's to keep his tag as the world's best middleweight. 10-9 Golovkin. 

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round Four

It's all Murata. The Japanese star is pushing GGG back and he's not slowing down at all. The same can't be said about Golovkin. 10-9 Murata. 

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round Three

A dominant round from Murata. He's hitting the body of Golovkin well and it's obvious the Kazakh star doesn't like it. Has Golovkin's age caught up with him? 10-9 Murata. 

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round Two

Murata is the fighter walking forward and the local support is pushing him on. Golovkin is landing the occasional heavy shot, but Murata is coping well with the power so far. 10-9 Murata.

Golovkin vs. Murata: Round One

It's been a while since we've seen Golovkin's jab, but he's throwing it a lot here. Murata has made a spirited start and has let his hands go, which suggests he's very confident of taking what's coming back. GGG jab is enough to shade him the opener. 10-9 Golovkin. 

The big one is up next

Golovkin and Murata are set to do battle. The undercard is finished and next we have our eagerly anticipated main event. 

Nakatani retains world title with impressive stoppage

Junto Nakatani successfully defended his WBO flyweight title as he stopped the ridiculously brave Ryota Yamauchi in the eighth session. Nakatani was ruthless throughout as he landed heavy shots on his opponent from the opening bell. The only frustration he might feel is that he didn't get the job sooner. Nakatani can now look forward to potential unfication clashes against Sunny Edwards and Julio Cesar Martinez.

We go to the scorecards early due to a cut

A brilliant fight ends early as Ito suffers some facial damage which has caused serious swelling. It's not the ending that either fighter wanted but after almost 11 rounds, Yoshino is declared the victor. Will a push to world level be next? 

Yoshino and Ito putting it all on the line

Shuichiro Yoshino and Masayuki Ito are delivering a mini classic at the halfway point. There's been several excellent exchanges with Yoshino getting the better of it, but Ito did show a lot of character in round six to suggest that the second half could be interesting. 

Welcome to Japan for Golovkin vs. Murata

The action is close to getting underway in Japan. The main event, Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Ryota Murata, is expected around 1.10pm GMT.

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