It's been a long wait, but Gennadiy "GGG" Golovkin finally is set for his mandatory IBF middleweight title defense against Kamil Szeremeta. The two will meet on Friday, Dec. 18 on a card that will be streamed live on DAZN, the streaming service confirmed on Tuesday.
Golovkin has not fought since October 2019 when he won a very competitive unanimous decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko to win the vacant IBF and IBO middleweight titles. Those titles moved Golovkin back to world champion status after he lost the WBA, WBC and IBO titles in his September rematch with Canelo Alvarez.
A combination of the pandemic, talk of a trilogy fight with Alvarez -- who has since become a "free agent" after a very public split with DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions -- and the looming mandatory fight with Szermeta have held Golovkin back from some of the big fights fans have come to expect from one of boxing's biggest stars. Also, in the Derevyanchenko fight, it appeared age and ring miles may be catching up to the 38-year-old slugger hailing from Kazakhstan.
Szeremeta sports a sparkly 21-0 record, though he has only scored five knockouts in his career, and while a former European middleweight champion, will enter the ring as a massive underdog against Golovkin. Szeremeta has never fought anyone of Golovkin's caliber nor the two calibers below that.
Boxing is a business, however, and the options for Golovkin are to defend the belt against Szeremeta as ordered by the IBF or forfeit his world championship, which Golovkin was not likely to do.
While Alvarez is not under the same massive deal he signed with DAZN in 2018, Canelo could be fighting in one-off bouts on the streaming platform, leaving some hope that a trilogy fight with Golovkin is still possible, even if unlikely. That, of course, requires Alvarez to defeat Callum Smith in a bout scheduled for the day after Golovkin's fight -- also on DAZN -- and for Golovkin to avoid an all-time upset against Szeremeta.