The Super Arena in Saitama, Japan will host an intriguing 12-round middleweight unification bout this Saturday, April 9th when IBF World Champion Gennady Golovkin meets WBA World Champion Ryota Murata.

A crowd of 36,000 is expected to pack the venue to see Golovkin of Kazakhstan battle it out with the hometown hero Murata, who hails from Nara, Japan. 

Both boxers will have some ring rust to fight through though as Golovkin hasn’t fought since stopping Kamil Szeremeta after the seventh round in December, 2020 while Murata hasn’t been in the ring since  earning a fifth-round stoppage over Steven Butler in December, 2019. 

In addition, they’ll also be trying to hold back Father Time as Murata is 36 years old and Golovkin celebrates his 40th birthday just 24 hours before the fight. 

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Golovkin, who’s also known as Triple G or GGG, captured the vacant IBO and IBF Middleweight Belts is May, 2019 when he edged Sergiy Derevyanchenko by a 12-round unanimous decision in a toe-to-toe battle. 

Murata originally won his WBA title in October, 2017 against Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam when he stopped him after seven rounds. The two had met five months earlier with N’Jikam winning the vacant championship via a highly-controversial a controversial split decision. 

Murata defended his belt the for the first time by stopping European Champion Emanuele Felice Blandamura in the eighth round in April, 2018 before being out-boxed by Rob Brant in his second defense in a 12-round unanimous decision in October, 2018. However, he stopped Brant in the second round in their rematch nine months later to regain his belt.

Golovkin enters the fight with an impressive 41-1-1 record with 36 Kos while Murata stands at 16-2 with 13 wins coming by KO. Golovkin’s lone defeat and draw came against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in controversial decisions in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Golovkin, who measures just over 5-feet-10 inches in height with a 70-inch reach, is well known for his power and that can be backed up by his current 83.7 per cent knockout ratio. 

He once stopped 23 opponents in a row until being taken the distance by Daniel Jacobs in March, 2017. Since then, he’s won three of his last six outings by stoppage. Golovkin enjoyed a fine amateur career and has boxed 219 rounds since making his pro debut in 2006. He’s also a former WBC and WBA World Middleweight Champion who defended a version of the title 20 consecutive times before losing to Alvarez. 

Since turning pro, Golovkin has also beaten some fine boxers such as David Lemieux, Kell Brook, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, Curtis Stevens, Daniel Geale, Gabriel Rosado and Matthew Macklin. 

Golovkin is well known for his granite chin, power and boxing skills but isn’t worried about being hit as he unleashes his brutal heady and body shots. He can also show great patience while stalking his opponent and typically eventually wears them down with his thunderous punches. 

Murata also had an excellent amateur career and topped it off at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England by capturing a gold medal in the middleweight division. He then made his pro debut a year later and has 111 rounds of experience since then. He’s just over 6-feet in height with a reach of 75 inches. This means he’ll have a five-inch edge in reach over Golovkin on Saturday as well as a two-inch height advantage.  

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Since turning pro, Murata also owns victories over boxers such as Jessie Nicklow,  Akio Shibata, Bruno Sandoval, Gunnar Jackson and Carlos Nascimento. He’s also displayed a solid chin up to now to accompany his power and owns a 72.2 per cent knockout ratio. But compared to Golovkin, he’s slightly lacking in foot and hand speed even though he possesses a similar aggressive style.

According to the bet365 oddsmakers, Golovkin is the current favorite to win the fight at -600 while Murata is listed at +350 with a draw or technical draw at +2000.  

Other popular bet365 boxing wagers include the round the fight will end, round group betting, the method of victory, total rounds and if the bout will go the distance etc. 

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