Gennadiy Golovkin to end long layoff when he fights Ryota Murata

Kazakhstan's Gennadiy Golovkin, left, and Japan's Ryota Murata pose during a press conference a ...

Finally, Gennadiy Golovkin is back.

Still one of boxing’s most destructive punchers, GGG will end the longest layoff of his professional career when he defends his IBF middleweight title against WBA titlist Ryota Murata on Saturday — the day after Golovkin turned 40. The fight will stream live on DAZN from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, with the main event expected to start at 5 a.m. Las Vegas time.

When Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 knockouts) steps into the ring against Murata (16-2, 13 KOs), it will mark his first fight since December 2020, when he easily disposed of mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta in Florida. And whether he’s looking past Murata, boxing fans will be closely watching because of a reported agreement for Golovkin to meet Canelo Alvarez in a trilogy fight this year, assuming both win their interim bouts.

Alvarez will meet undefeated Dmitry Bivol on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena.

During his camp in Florida, Golovkin spoke about his preparation for Saturday’s fight, his expectations and future.

Review-Journal: How has training camp been?

Golovkin: Everything is going according to plan. There’s been no drama, no problems.

RJ: How frustrating was the wait for this fight?

Golovkin: Indeed, it’s been a long break. And I’ve been in training for quite awhile, and I peaked in December, and then when there were rumors that it might take place in February, I peaked again.

RJ: How do you see the fight playing out?

Golovkin: Anything is possible during this fight. Even just the opening exchange from the beginning. We know each other personally, and we are ready. It’s going to be a big fight. I’m ready for any scenario.

We contracted for this fight some time ago, and it’s been going on for some time. And, of course, we need to bring it to the end.

RJ: Your longtime rival, Canelo Alvarez, will fight Dmitry Bivol on May 7. Any prediction for how that fight plays out?

Golovkin: I’ll be honest with you, this is the least concern of mine. I understand that you’re a journalist, that you discuss it all the time. But I’m being a professional athlete. I’m concerned with what I’m doing, and I’m not concerned about any outcomes, any predictions. This is not something I can comment on.

RJ: You’ll be 40 when you step into the ring against Murata. How much longer do you want to fight?

Golovkin: Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like a 40-year-old man … so it’s an interesting experience being in those shoes. But I cannot tell you what will happen tomorrow. I live in the present, and I’m not that big in predictions.

RJ: This will be your first fight in front of fans since 2019. How excited are you about that, even though it will be a hostile atmosphere?

Golovkin: I’m a boxer. I’ve been around for quite awhile. I feel very comfortable. I’ll be very happy and excited to see a packed arena, and I’m certain that it will add to the fight itself. It will make it more interesting for the fans.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.