Gennadiy Golovkin finally has a date for his mandatory middleweight title defense against Kamil Szeremeta.
Matchroom Boxing, Golovkin’s co-promoter, and Golovkin’s promotional company announced Friday that Golovkin-Szeremeta has been scheduled for December 18. DAZN delayed adding Golovkin’s fight versus Szeremeta to its streaming schedule for a few months, but the 38-year-old Golovkin now knows when he’ll make a mandated defense of the IBF middleweight title he regained by edging Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Poland’s Szeremeta is the IBF’s third-ranked challenger for Golovkin’s championship. The 31-year-old Szeremeta is the leading available contender for Golovkin’s mandatory defense because the top two spots in the IBF’s 160-pound ratings are vacant.
While undefeated, Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs) is widely viewed as a huge underdog against even this aged version of the hard-hitting Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs).
Golovkin’s return to the ring was delayed longer than he would’ve preferred, yet this lengthy layoff at least enabled the Kazakh knockout artist to rest and fully recover from his brutal battle versus Derevyanchenko (13-3, 10 KOs). Golovkin defeated Derevyanchenko by unanimous decision in an extremely entertaining slugfest that BoxingScene.com voted its “Fight of the Year” for 2019.
His low-profile fight with Szeremeta will be Golovkin’s third appearance since he signed a six-fight contract with DAZN in March 2019. Golovkin knocked out Toronto’s Steve Rolls (20-1, 11 KOs) in the fourth round of his DAZN debut in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden.
Golovkin’s deal with DAZN reportedly will pay him in excess of $100 million altogether.
He had hoped to face middleweight rival Canelo Alvarez a third time by now, but the Mexican superstar wasn’t willing to fight Golovkin late last year. Alvarez’s refusal to fight him again led Golovkin to battle Derevyanchenko for the then-vacant IBF 160-pound championship that was stripped from Alvarez for his team’s failure to strike a deal with Derevyanchenko, who was the mandatory challenger for Alvarez’s IBF belt.
Alvarez, who beat Golovkin by majority decision in their 12-round rematch two years ago, eventually changed his mind and was willing to partake in a third fight against Golovkin earlier this year. By then, however, Golovkin already was contractually committed to defending his title against Szeremeta.
The 30-year-old Alvarez’s return to DAZN after a legal battle with the streaming service and former promoter Golden Boy could lead to his third fight versus Golovkin finally coming together in 2021. Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) will to square off against England’s Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) for Smith’s WBA “super” world 168-pound championship in his next fight, on December 19 at the Alamodome in Texas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.