Gennadiy Golovkin v Ryota Murata
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KO king Golovkin returns
One of the biggest punchers in boxing history returns to the ring on Saturday as Gennady Golovkin aims to knockout opponent Ryota Murata. The pair battle over the WBA and IBF middleweight world titles at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. This is a chance for Triple G to win millions of new fans in Japan, but a victory would also move him a step closer to the fight he wants most - the trilogy with Saul Alvarez.
For Golovkin v Alvarez III to stand any chance of happening in 2022, Canelo must get past Dmitry Bivol in Las Vegas next month up at light heavyweight before moving back down to middleweight. Golovkin must do his part against a talented opponent from Japan who will be roared on by a large support in his homeland. This is the biggest fight of Murata's career, and it could be one of the most important of Gennadiy's.
GGG brings 41 wins from 43 fights
Golovkin's record now stands at 41 wins against one defeat and a draw, with Canelo responsible for the two blemishes on his card. They fought out a draw in 2017, but it was a controversial split decision, with many pundits and fight fans believing GGG had done enough to merit the win. He was the more aggressive fighter, always pushing the action and landed some heavy shots. In the rematch, it was Alvarez on the front foot, and there could be no complaints when the Mexican was awarded a points win, although that was a majority.
Since that loss to Canelo, we have seen Golovkin fight three times and reel off a trio of victories. He stopped Steve Rolls inside four rounds at Madison Square Gardens, beat Sergiy Derevyanchenko at the same New York venue on points and, most recently, got rid of Kamil Szeremeta in round seven in Hollywood. The latter was in December 2020, and Golovkin hasn't fought since, which is a concern for a fighter who has just celebrated his 40th birthday.
Despite that inactivity, bettors have already learned to keep on the right side of Gennadiy, and it's no surprise to see him as favourite on the Betfair Exchange. There's 1.232/9 available to those wishing to support the world-famous boxer from Kazakhstan in the fight winner betting. Enhancing his 84% KO average is 1.728/11 with a points victory trading at 3.711/4.
Murata isn't here to make up the numbers
Japan's Murata steps into the biggest fight of his life, but he does so believing he has what it takes to claim a famous victory. The fighter from Tokyo isn't here to make up the numbers, and he'll take heart from the crowd's support and his opponent's age and recent inactivity. This is a chance for the 6ft orthodox boxer to become an overnight sensation. Beat Golovkin, and he could find himself sharing the ring with Alvarez later this year in a money-spinning bout.
Ryota brings a professional record of 16 wins against two defeats, with 13 of those victories coming inside the distance and both losses on the scorecards. His defeats were inflicted by Hassam N'Dam N'Jikam on a split decision in 2017 and Rob Brant in Las Vegas 12 months later. Since his last defeat, Murata has boxed only twice, stopping Brant inside two rounds in a rematch in Osaka before taking out Steve Butler in round five of a contest in Yokohama. His last win was in December 2019, which removes some of the worry over his opponent's time on the sidelines.
Despite heading in with a decent record, bettors want nothing to do with the Japanese fighter and are happy to offer him at 5.59/2 to score a victory. The points win can be backed at 7.413/2, with the KO/TKO deemed unlikely at 1110/1.
Easy work for Golovkin
There's nothing about Murata that suggests he's good enough to win this bout. He has the backing of the support, but many in attendance will also be there to catch a glimpse of the living legend that is Triple G. The fact the home town fighter hasn't fought since 2019 allows us to oppose him in the betting with confidence.
Take Golovkin to work his way into this contest before stopping Murata in the middle rounds. He won't come out all guns blazing but will get to his man comfortably inside the distance. Golovkin in rounds 7-9 is the bet.