UFC 243 may be this weekend, but on that same Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, the vacant IBF middleweight championship is on the line.
Former unified champ Gennadiy Golovkin (39-1-1, 35 KOs) will take on Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10 KOs) in what is GGG’s second fight as part of his mega-deal with DAZN. Ironically, Golovkin was stripped of the IBF title when he didn’t fight his mandatory challenger Derevyanchenko on short notice after the Canelo Alvarez rematch was postponed in May 2018. Now that Canelo has been stripped of his title for not fighting Derevyanchenko, GGG and Sergiy will finally meet in the ring.
Golovkin obviously wants the Canelo trilogy, but that’s not happening until May 2020 at the earliest… if ever. The Kazakh star lost a close decision to Alvarez in their September 2018 rematch, and when HBO shuts its doors for boxing, it left GGG to be a free agent. The hard-hitting Golovkin opted for DAZN, and his introductory fight was a catchweight KO win over the unheralded Steve Rolls in June. We thought this would open the door for him to face Alvarez next, but Canelo went with Sergey Kovalev, so in the meantime, GGG has a chance to get one of the major middleweight titles again.
Derevyanchenko was an outstanding amateur and a world championship bronze medalist. He doesn’t have many pro fights because he hasn’t needed them. He ascended towards the top of 160 lbs after winning his #1 contender bout vs. Tureano Johnson. In his first career title shot, he gave Daniel Jacobs all he could handle, but lost a split decision in a very entertaining fight. Derevyanchenko bounced back with a decision victory against Jack Culcay.
While Golovkin is the favorite, he is 37 years old and it would be hard to argue that he’s still in the prime of his career. Derevyanchenko may not be as hard a puncher as his record may indicate, but he does like to throw in volume and has an impressive workrate. In other words, expect plenty of action from these two. This is not an easy matchup for GGG by any means.
The co-main event features Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3 KOs) against veteran Alejandro Barrera (29-5, 18 KOs) in a junior middleweight fight. Madrimov is one of the most intriguing prospects in all of boxing, and certainly one of the more destructive punchers. Just look at this!
Bloody Elbow will have full fight week coverage of GGG vs. Derevyanchenko, including play-by-play, analysis, highlights, and much more. The main card begins at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT, exclusively on DAZN. Expect the main event to start somewhere in the 11-11:30 PM ET range.