The Seminole Hard Rock & Casino in Hollywood is the setting this Friday night as we see the return of a pound for pound star at the head of affairs.
Gennadiy Golovkin (40-1-1, KO35) makes his long awaited ring return after fourteen months away, and he defends his IBF and IBO Middleweight titles against mandatory challenger, Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, KO5).
Golovkin aims to make a record breaking 21st defence with victory in this one.
Kazakh wrecking ball Golovkin has been patiently waiting for a trilogy match with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for what seems a lifetime, but time isn’t Golovkin’s friend at 38, and he is forced to settle for another defence of his belt here with Canelo otherwise engaged this Saturday with Callum Smith.
Golovkin’s reign as 160lb champion began in 2010, and he has a host of impressive names on his record as his stock rose and rose.
Powerful performances against Matthew Macklin (KO3), Daniel Geale (TKO3), Martin Murray (TKO11) and David Lemieux (TKO8) all in dominant fashion saw Golovkin elevated to superstar status.
After wins against Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs led to a mouth watering meeting with Alvarez, and many felt ‘GGG’ had done enough to have his hand raised, but a draw was the official verdict.
An Alvarez failed test scandal scuppered an immediate rematch, and Golovkin took his frustrations out on Vanes Matirosyan in two rounds in May 2018.
The rematch finally came four months later, and Canelo handed Golovkin his first career defeat with a tight majority decision win in Las Vegas.
Since that loss Golovkin has won twice more, knocking out Steve Rolls in four in June 2019, before defending his IBF and IBO crowns in his last outing in October of the same year in a close points win against Sergey Derevyanchenko in New York.
Naturally, Golovkin’s attributes have slowed as he has gotten older, and this will be something his opponent will be keen to exploit on fight night.
Kamil Szeremeta though, could end up being yet another overmatched IBF mandatory, and his professional ledger doesn’t give him a lot of hope.
The 31-year-old Pole is unbeaten, and is a former European champion, winning the vacant title in February 2018 with a second round knockout on the road against Alessandro Goddi.
He defended twice and then vacated, and he was last seen on the Golovkin v Derevyanchenko undercard in October last year, stopping Oscar Cortes in two.
Prediction: Although Golovkin is at the back end of a stellar career, his eyes will be on potential huge fights down the line, and he shouldn’t allow Szeremeta to derail those plans here.
The Pole lacks the power to trouble Golovkin or distract him from his usual power punching game, so I can’t see anything but a Triple G knockout here.
The end could come with the first four, but should be over within the first half of the contest as Golovkin looks forward to a big 2021.
At Super Middleweight, John Ryder (28-5, KO16) returns after a controversial defeat to Callum Smith with a ten round assignment against Californian, Mike Guy (12-5-1, KO5).
Ryder looked like he had done enough to get the verdict in what would have been an upset win against ‘Mundo’.
Ryder had been in good form prior to that reverse, scoring early wins against Patrick Nielsen, Jamie Cox and Andrey Sirotkin, before travelling to Las Vegas to win the interim WBA belt in a third round stoppage of ‘Canelo’ Alvarez training partner, Bilal Akkaway.
He will hope to make a statement against Guy, who has only been stopped once, against Sergey Derevyachenko in 2016. Ryder can get the job done here with his pressure fighting style in around five or six rounds.
Terri Harper will be an interested spectator, as one of her rivals defends her world title. Hyun Mi Choi (17-0-1, KO4) puts her WBA Super Featherweight title on the line for a ninth time, as she takes on Columbian banger Calista Silgado (19-11-3, KO14).
Choi fights outside of her native South Korea for the first time here, and she has been pretty dominant in her title reign so far.
The plan is for a Harper v Choi unification match in 2021, and Sligado shouldn’t be a road block here.
Sligado has shared the ring with the Serrano sisters and Mikaela Mayer, and has previously unsuccessfully challenged for world titles four times. Choi should have too much know-how in this one, and can secure a wide points win.
The vacant IBO title is available to the winner at Super Middleweight, where Ali Akhmedov (16-0, KO12) and Carlos Gongora (18-0, KO13) clash.
Akhmedov is yet another off the Kazakh conveyor belt, and he can take the belt here with a comfortable points win over the Columbian.
In six round action, Reshat Mati (8-0, KO6) can remove Dennis Okoth (4-4-1, KO2) inside schedule, while at Featherweight, Jalan Walker (6-0, KO6) can also enjoy an early night against Rafael Reyes (18-11, KO14).