Golovkin vs Murata Canceled Due to Japan’s Travel Ban

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It looks like IBF middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin will have to wait longer than a year for his next fight to take place. 

The Kazakhstan native and WBA super middleweight champion Ryota Murata were scheduled to meet in a unification bout on December 29th in Saitama, Japan. Unfortunately, the country’s efforts to minimalize the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID took the form of restrictions that prohibit foreigners from entering its territory. Parties involved in the fight’s promotion had tried to obtain an exemption for Golovkin, but were denied by the Japanese government. There are plans to reschedule the bout for next year in Japan.

Golovkin took to Twitter to make this statement:

His last fight took place on December 18th of 2020, when he defeated Kamil Szeremeta to retain his IBF middleweight title. 

Murata’s layoff has been even longer, as he hasn’t entered the ring since December 2019, when he regained the WBA middleweight title by defeating Rob Brant by a TKO in a second round. The Japanese boxer became a star in his home country after winning a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. 

Japan’s new Covid restrictions are affecting the country’s combat sports scene in general. The cancellation of the Golovkin-Murata fight is one of many examples of hardship that Japanese promotions must go through. Rizin has been forced to completely change their New Year’s Eve fight card, and the scheduled December 31 title fight between Kazuto Ioka and Jerwin Ancaia 115-pound title fight was also canceled. 

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