Friday, June 02, 2023  |


Gennady Golovkin stripped of IBF title; Sergey Derevyanchenko to fight for vacant belt

Photo by German Villasenor
Fighters Network

Gennady Golovkin’s title collection just became a little smaller.

GGG was stripped of his IBF middleweight title on Wednesday for failing to meet his mandatory obligation and sign for a fight with Sergey Derevyanchenko, the organization announced.

When Golovkin’s May 5 rematch with Canelo Alvarez was canceled, the IBF ordered the mandatory fight with Derevyanchenko. Instead, the 36-year-old Kazakh elected to fight Vanes Martirosyan, and the New Jersey-based sanctioning body refused to sanction the bout. However, GGG did receive an exception to fight Martirosyan on the condition that he sign to fight Derevyanchenko by August 3.

Golovkin, who also owns the WBC and WBA titles at 160 pounds, applied for an exception so he could pursue the rematch with Canelo in September, a fight that appears in serious trouble of ever coming to fruition. GGG, promoter Tom Loeffler and lawyer Pat English pleaded their case during a meeting in Newark, New Jersey on May 22 with Derevyanchenko, promoter Lou DiBella, attorney Alex Dombroff and the fighter’s manager, Keith Connolly.

After the approximately five-hour meeting, the IBF had 10 business days to make a ruling, and now Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 knockouts) is left with two title belts.

“It’s unfortunate that the IBF decided to strip one of their best champions in their history,” Loeffler told THE RING. “He always followed their rules, fighting sometimes to his detriment as the unlevel advantage they created for the (Daniel) Jacobs weigh-in, and they went above and beyond what Deverechenko side were asking for.

“Deverechenko was merely asking for them to order the mandatory and for it to take place within 90 days of the appeal hearing. Either way it’s a loss for the IBF to lose a great champion such as GGG and Deverechenko to be deprived the opportunity to fight him.”

Loeffler was referring to the IBF’s second-day weigh-in, which requires a fighter to step on the scale at no more than 10 pounds of the division limit. The morning of GGG’s fight with Jacobs in March 2017, the Brooklynite decided not to appear, while Golovkin made the 170-pound limit.

The IBF said it will order a bout between the top two available contenders, which would be Derevyanchenko and Jacobs.

Jacobs, who also is managed by Connolly, is being considered to fight Canelo Alvarez on September 15, and the sides are already in negotiations. Further complicating matters for any fight between Derevyanchenko (12-0, 10 KOs) and Jacobs: they’re both trained by Andre Rozier and frequently spar with each other.

The 32-year-old Ukrainian was a decorated amateur and Olympian, and he’s proven to be a formidable fighter in the pros, too. His 12th-round stoppage of Tureano Johnson in August 2017 earned him the title shot, and now, Derevyanchenko waits to see whom he’ll fight.

“Sergey and I are extremely happy with the IBF ruling,” Connolly told THE RING in a text message. “We were confident all along that we would win. He was never interested in stepping aside. His dream was to fight for the title. In the coming weeks we will look to see who he challenges to fulfill a life long dream.”

Golovkin, meanwhile, is in limbo. He wants a fight with Canelo, but only if he’s going to receive half of the money. The belts were always important to him, and when he won the IBF title from David Lemieux in October 2015, he was one step closer to his goal of owning all four belts.

In a matter of days, he’s lost one of his belts, and perhaps a significant payday, too.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger