THE middleweight landscape is shifting. The IBF have stripped their world title from Gennady Golovkin. The Kazakh remains the WBC and WBA titleholder, but this is a significant roadblock to his hopes of unifying all four major world titles.
The IBF made the ruling after Golovkin failed to agree to fight their mandatory challenger, Sergey Derevyanchenko.
Golovkin is having a nightmare year. He was gunning for vengeance after a controversial draw with archrival, Canelo Alvarez. When the Mexican failed a drug test, their May 5 rematch was called off. Golovkin still boxed on that date, dispatching replacement foe Vanes Martirosyan with contemptuous ease. The IBF granted Golovkin an exemption for that fight but did not sanction it. They needed him to agree in writing to face his mandatory challenger Derevyanchenko. Without that they were obliged to strip their title from the Kazakh and declare it vacant.
The IBF will identify the two leading available contenders and order them to negotiate to fight for the vacant title. Both Danny Jacobs and Jermall Charlo are highly ranked and could be appealing opponents for Derevyanchenko.
Negotiations to reschedule the Golovkin’s rematch with Canelo for September have also stalled. There are still significant options for Golovkin, with Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO middleweight champion recently pulling out of a defence against Martin Murray that was due to take place later this month. But the IBF belt still represented a milestone in “GGG’s” career. It was the first world title he won from a champion, as his regular WBA title was elevated to the Super version and he collected the WBC belt that Canelo vacated, before they eventually fought.
It is now the first world championship he has lost without a fight.