Gennady Golovkin opens DAZN deal with fight against unheralded Steven Rolls
Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will face unbeaten Steven Rolls of Canada on June 8, it was officially announced Tuesday afternoon. Tom Loeffler confirmed the news to The Ring earlier in the day.
The 12-round bout, which will be fought at a catchweight of 164 pounds, will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout will be the first of a six-fight deal Golovkin signed with DAZN, which will stream the fight live.
Tickets will go on sale this coming Saturday at noon ET and a two-city press tour will commence at Madison Square Garden next Monday. The second press conference will take place in Los Angeles the following day on Apr. 23
Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 knockouts), who is originally from Kazakhstan and now resides in the Los Angeles area, will be fighting for the first time since his close majority decision loss to Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 16.
With HBO no longer involved in broadcasting live boxing, Golovkin was courted by networks and promoters over the last several months, including ESPN and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), before signing a deal with DAZN.
The last time Golovkin fought at The Garden was in March of 2017, when he defeated Daniel Jacobs by unanimous decision.
“I am very excited to be returning to the ring and bringing the Big Drama Show back to Madison Square Garden,” said Golovkin, who will also co-promote the card under his GGG Promotions banner. “The Garden’s fans are fantastic. I live boxing and I promise to bring the best of me to everyone who will be watching me in an all-action fight with Steve Rolls. I am very happy that GGG Promotions has a new home at DAZN.”
Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) was one of a handful of fighters shortlisted to face Golovkin, including former titleholder Hassan N’Dam and fringe contender Brandon Adams. The Toronto resident is ranked No. 9 by the IBF, but his last two fights have been fought at 168 pounds.
In his last bout on Dec. 15, the 35-year-old Rolls defeated KeAndrae Leatherwood by unanimous decision over 10 rounds.
Rolls has fought twice on U.S. programming, both of which were ’ShoBox’ telecasts. Rolls stopped Steed Woodall in December of 2015 and defeated Demond Nicholson by split decision in June of 2017.
“I want to sincerely thank DAZN and GGG himself for giving me the opportunity to challenger one of the best fighters in the world,” said Rolls. “But let me be clear: I’ve won national championships and represented my country, and Golovkin is just a man. I’m coming to win this fight and put my name among the best middleweights in the world.”
Promoter Lou DiBella agrees.
“Steve is a very good fighter and a better man,” DiBella told The Ring Tuesday afternoon. “He was one of the last fighters that signed to train with the late-Emanuel Steward. I’m glad it’s a new fighter that is challenging Golovkin rather than someone who is recycled with four or five fights.”
“I know Steve will give it his all on June 8.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since September 2012. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing