By: Hans Themistode
Over the past few years, Gennadiy Golovkin has become extremely inactive. At the height of his destruction, the Kazakh star made two or three appearances a year. However, after scoring the winning goal against Kamil Szeremeta in December 2020, this year marks the first time Golovkin has failed to enter the ring since turning pro in 2006.
While this hasn’t been the year Golovkin’s fans were hoping for, the current IBF middleweight champion has been forced to deal with forces beyond his control. Initially, the former unified player was set up to face WBA belt holder Ryota Murata. Both are scheduled to end on December 29, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
However, due to growing concerns around the COVID-19 omicron variant, Japan has implemented new travel restrictions that discourage foreigners from visiting. Although a growing number of people were optimistic that Golovkin would receive a special exemption, he was ultimately denied.
Even as their rivalry has officially been pushed in a favorable direction, promoter Eddie Hearn is confident that both sides will get to the negotiating table fairly quickly.
“Gennady Golovkin, will fight Murata in December,” Hearn said in an interview with IFL TV. “Looks like it will be rescheduled for March or April.”
Murata, a former Olympic gold medalist, has spent the past two years in isolation on the sidelines. Before the recent string of inactivity, Murata is said to be in the midst of the best form of his career. The tough Japanese tennis player immediately regained the WBA middleweight belt against Rob Brant in July 2019, stopping his senior in the second round. Five months later, Murata scored his fifth stoppage-time goal against Steven Butler.