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Boxing: Murata's unification bout with Golovkin postponed

Japanese WBA titleholder Ryota Murata, right, attends a press conference in Tokyo on Nov. 12, 2021, ahead of a middleweight title unification clash against IBF champion Gennady Golovkin, seen on the screen, of Kazakhstan on Dec. 29. (Mainichi/Hironobu Murakoso)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The middleweight title unification bout between Japanese WBA titleholder Ryota Murata and IBF champion Gennady Golovkin has been postponed, Murata's Teiken Boxing Gym said Friday, as year-end boxing matches began to be scrubbed due to Japan's new coronavirus entry restrictions.

    Japan began barring the entry of nonresident foreign nationals on Tuesday to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus's Omicron variant. The new ban ruled the Kazakhstani fighter out of the Dec. 29 bout at Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo.

    A source close to the matter said the bout between 35-year-old Murata and 39-year-old Golovkin, which has been discussed since 2018, may be rescheduled for next spring.

    Although he has not fought in nearly two years, Murata indicated he was in favor of the border controls.

    "I'm in agreement with the government's urgent measures, and support them," he posted on social media.

    Murata has a 16-2 record with 13 knockouts, while Golovkin, known as "GGG," boasts a 41-1-1 record with 36 KOs.

    The Dec. 31 super flyweight title unification bout between Japan's WBO champion Kazuto Ioka and IBF champ Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines at Tokyo's Ota City General Gymnasium, has also been scratched Friday, Ioka's Shisei Boxing Gym announced.

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