Gennady “GGG” Golovkin returned to form with a telling knockout win over veteran Vanes Martirosyan to extend his title defense streak, set a record for gate receipts and show the world he’s still the unified middleweight champion of the world on Saturday.
After a brief one round pause Golovkin (37-0-1, 34 KOs) unleashed the cannons in the second round to knock out Martirosyan before 7,837 fans at the StubHub Center. It was his 20th middleweight title defense and ties Bernard Hopkins record.
Golovkin retained the WBC, WBA, and IBF middleweight titles.
For three minutes Martirosyan showed why he was considered formidable as he rocked Golovkin with some vicious combinations. But the first round was all the Glendale resident would remember. Then came Golovkin’s thunder.
“Vanes is a good fighter, he caught me a few times in the first round,” said Golovkin. “But in the second round it was all business.”
The crowd was mostly pro-Golovkin and when the first round started Martirosyan was sharp and accurate. A three-punch combination stung Golovkin who seemed a little surprised by the power behind the blows. As the first round ended, a murmur of hope rose from the few Martirosyan fans.
Then the second round arrived and the monster awoke.
Golovkin powered through Martirosyan’s series of attempted punches and connected with some powerful blows. As Martirosyan was forced against the ropes Golovkin followed with five big blasts. All the blows connected and Martirosyan slumped down in sections to the floor. As referee Jack Reiss counted, Martirosyan seemed to be able to rise to his feet, then suddenly slumped down to the floor. The fight was over at 1:53 of the second round.
“I wanted to see what he was made of,” said Martirosyan. “I found out. He has my respect. I’ve never been hit that hard in my life. Every punch had power.”
The former super welterweight contender took the fight at middleweight with less than two weeks preparation, but he had been in training.
“I’m a fighter, I fight,” Martirosyan said. “If you asked me to fight again tonight I would fight again.”
So what’s next for Golovkin?
Promoter Tom Loeffler said negotiations with Golden Boy Promotions and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez have proceeded and a rematch is expected in September. The first fight ended in a split draw.
“My job is very small. I’m just a fighter,” said Golovkin. “I will fight anybody. Anybody.”
First Lady Wins First Female Bout on HBO
Welterweight world champion Cecilia “First Lady Braekhus (33-0, 9 KOs) was sweeping all the rounds until a crushing right cross by Rhode Island’s Kali Reis (13-7-1, 4 KOs) dropped her in the seventh. But the Norwegian-based fighter survived that round and the remaining three rounds on her way to a unanimous decision victory to keep the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF world titles.
Facing a former middleweight champion was not as easy as some expected.
“She was the hardest puncher I ever faced,” said Braekhus who had never been knocked down before. “She was such an amazing and tough fighter.”
Braekhus was cruising along for six rounds using a solid jab and some quick rights to score willingly against Reis. But then she looked to score some damaging blows and nearly got toppled herself.
“I was setting up the right hand all night long,” said Reis who formerly held the WBC middleweight title in 2016 and opted to drop down in weight for this fight.
Along with the knockdown by Reis, she wobbled and nearly floored Braekhus in the eighth round with another right cross. But the welterweight champion fought smartly the remaining rounds of the fight.
All the judges favored Braekhus (96-93 twice and 97-92) who retains the unified welterweight world championship to the chagrin to some fans.
“Of course I will give her a rematch,” said Braekhus. “She has some very good punches.”
Reis was delighted by the result despite the loss.
“We made history,” Reis said.
Photo credit: Al Applerose
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