Genadi Golovkin called the prospect of a third fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez “interesting” after the Kazakh star entered the long-awaited trilogy after losing to Japan’s Riota Murata on Saturday.
“GGG” Golvkin, who turned 40 on Friday, stopped Murata in the ninth round to add the Japanese fighter’s WBA middleweight world title to his own IBF belt in an integration competition in Saitama, north of Tokyo.
The victory took Golovkin one step closer to the third crack of the pound-for-pound king Alvarez, pushing the Mexicans all the way through the previous two epic battles.
All-time winner Alvarez, who combined four super-middleweight belts in just 11 months last year, will rise to the light-heavyweight on May 7 to challenge undefeated WBA champion Dmitry Bevel.
A September trilogy fight between Alvarez and Golovkin could break box office and pay-per-view records but Kazakh refuses to go too far after winning its first fight in 16 months.
“Of course, it’s always interesting when an opportunity presents itself,” said Golvkin, who had an initial problem with Murata before taking control and won the technical knockout.
“At the same time, the battle of Canelo is taking place in May and it will not be an easy fight. So I suggest we wait and see what happens. “
Golvkin’s first fight against Alvarez in September 2017, an inspiring performance by the Kazakhs, led many to believe that he had won – only for the judges to declare the fight a split draw.
Eight months later the match was postponed again after Alvarez tested positive for a banned substance.
When it finally happened in September 2018, Alvarez fought to win by a majority decision after a thrilling contest.
Golvkin had to beat Murata for a chance to get another bite in the cherry, but the Japanese fighter swung out and landed several large body shots in the opening round.
Golovkin stabilized the ship and slowly began to turn the screw, sending Murata’s mouthpiece into the air with a fierce punch early in the sixth round.
Murata – a 2012 London Olympics gold medalist – finally committed suicide in the ninth round, after Golvkin sent him to the canvas and threw his corner towel.
Golvkin said every round of the intense fight was “close”, but he was happy with his performance.
“Murata is a strong, tough boxer with a lot of endurance and a lot of patience, but at some point I was able to shorten it and find the right distance,” said Golvkin, who took his record to 42-1-1, with 37 KO. .
The build-up of fighting for mutual respect between the two warriors was significant.
After the final bell rang, Golovkin presented Murata with a hug with his ring gown.
“It’s our national heritage,” Golvkin said. “When you want to show a lot of respect to a person, you present him with your gown.”
Murata, now 16-3, was roared by the home crowd against an opponent who has been hailed as the biggest name to enter a ring in Japan since Mike Tyson in 1990.
Murata had no complaints after his team threw a towel, saying Golvkin’s experience and tactics made a difference.
“Golvkin has an image of being strong that he can throw you to the ground,” said Murata, 36, who has been fighting for the first time since December 2019.
“But when you fight him you will see that he is strong but really good – his blocking, his tactics, his level of boxing perfection.”
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