Re-energized Golovkin eyes return to middleweight supremacy

New York (AFP) –


Gennady Golovkin takes on Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant International Boxing Federation middleweight title on Saturday, aiming to launch a second reign at the age of 37.

Golovkin's trainer, Jonathon Banks, is confident the hard-hitting Kazakh has plenty of ring life left.

"I would consider his age a factor if this were 1995 through 1998," says Banks, who was in Golovkin's corner for the first time for his fourth-round stoppage of Steve Rolls on June 8.

"But with the medicine and technology, it's different. I really think he could fight until he was 75 if he wanted to, and I'm serious.

"He lives really clean. His 37 is not the average 37."

Golovkin, who brings a record of 39-1-1 with 35 knockouts to the bout at Madison Square Garden, says he has been re-energized by the tutelage of Banks as he seeks to regain a belt he first won in 2015.

Golovkin defended the title with wins against Dominic Wade, Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs and with a draw against Mexico's Canelo Alvarez.

Golovkin was stripped of the IBF title last year when he failed to make a mandatory defense against Ukraine's Derevyanchenko, opting instead for a rematch with Alvarez -- who handed Golovkin the first defeat of his career.

Derevyanchenko says he believes he can upset Golovkin to seize the belt and perhaps dim the prospects for a third Golovkin-Alvarez bout in 2020.

"I don't care that I'm underdog," said Derevyanchenko, who owns a record of 13-1 with 10 knockouts. "When I'm in the ring, it's just me and GGG.

"That's it. No matter if it's an underdog or no. It's just between these guys."

But the shadow of Alvarez has loomed large over the bout, even as the Mexican star prepares to make a two-division jump in weight to take on Russia's World Boxing Organization light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on November 2 in Las Vegas.

Golovkin, who contends that Alvarez "ran away" from a rematch, was clearly wearied by repeated questions about Alvarez in the build up to Saturday's bout.

"We have a lot of different things to talk about, we have a lot of interesting subjects, topics," he said, chiding reporters for constantly bringing up Alvarez.

"You asking about Canelo says something about you as journalists. Explore better options. Ask more interesting questions.

"I think it's your problem, not mine."