With no Alvarez fight in sight, Golovkin booking next bout

Gennady Golovkin

LOS ANGELES — Gennady Golovkin is closing in on a deal to defend his three middleweight title belts against Britain’s Chris Eubank Jr.

Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the sides are ”working on finalizing details.”

”GGG is willing to go to the UK to defend his world titles, and it would be a huge event,” Loeffler said in a text message. ”Hopefully we can get the fight signed.”

Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) would travel to England in September to take on Eubank (23-1, 18 KOs), the son of the former WBO middleweight champion. Eubank Jr. holds Britain’s 160-pound title, and he once held the WBA’s interim 160-pound belt.

The fight would air on Sky Sports pay-per-view in Britain and on regular HBO in the U.S., where Golovkin lives and trains.

Golovkin holds the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight title belts. The Kazakh-born power puncher has stopped 22 consecutive opponents since 2008, dominating his division and becoming a pound-for-pound star.

Eubank isn’t the first choice as Golovkin’s next opponent for most boxing fans — or for Golovkin himself.

Golovkin and Loeffler were eager for a big-money showdown with Saul ”Canelo” Alvarez next. Instead, the Mexican star and his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, decided to vacate Alvarez’s WBC middleweight title rather than take an immediate fight with the intimidating Golovkin.

Alvarez’s surprising reluctance has damaged his once-sparkling reputation among boxing fans. Eubank has expressed no such fears, but he would be a big underdog against Golovkin in their bout, which is expected to be staged in London’s O2 Arena.

The 34-year-old Golovkin is determined to keep his promises to stay active while he attempts to hold every middleweight title. The only other major 160-pound belt is held by WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs), who beat Eubank by split decision in November 2014.

Loeffler repeatedly has attempted to entice Saunders into the ring, but both fighters’ promoters have said the unheralded Saunders wants an extraordinary financial payout to risk his belt against the feared Golovkin, who would be an enormous favorite.

Saunders is expected to fight on the undercard of Alvarez’s meeting with Liam Smith on Sept. 17.

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