By Ken Hissner: Among active boxers today, IBF, WBA, and IBO World Middleweight champion just made his twenty-first title defense leading all active fighters.
Only five world champions have at least ten defenses. On April 9th, Golovkin unified titles knocking out now former WBA Super World Middleweight champion Ryota Murata of Japan in Saitama, Japan.
Going back to December 2010, as the interim WBA champion Golovkin won the WBA title, knocking out Nilson “Blade” Julio Tapia of Colombia. Two fights later, he added the IBO title Lajuan Simon of Philadelphia. In October 2014, he added the interim WBC title knocking out Marco Rubio, who failed to make weight.
In December of 2016, Golovkin added the WBC World title knocking out Kell Brook. In December 2018, he was given a disputed draw against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez that everyone but two judges thought he won.
Golovkin lost a majority decision to Alvarez in the rematch and has waited four years for a return match. Two fights later, he defeated Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF and IBO middleweight titles.
The next highest in defenses are WBA, WBC, WBO, and IBF Super Middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico, with seventeen defenses. Six as the WBA Super Welterweight champion and five as the WBC Middleweight champion. Then moving up to super middleweight, he gained all four organizations’ titles, making six more defenses for a total of seventeen defenses.
WBO World Welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford of Omaha, Nebraska, is tied for third in defenses. In March of 2010, he won the WBO Lightweight title defending it twice, and in April of 2015 took the WBO Light Welterweight title defending it six times. In June of 2019, he added the WBO Welterweight title defending it five times for a total of thirteen defenses.
Tied for third in defenses is current WBA and IBF World Bantamweight champion Naoya “Monster” Inoue of Japan. In April 2014, he won the WBC World Light Flyweight title in April of 2014 and defended it once. In December, Inoue won the WBO Super Flyweight title, defending it seven times. He won the WBA Bantamweight title in May 2018, defending it once. In May of 2019, he won the IBF Bantamweight title four times for a total of thirteen defenses.
In fifth place and fighting Inoue in June is WBC World Bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire of the Philippines. He won the IBF Flyweight title in July of 2007, defending it three times.
He won the WBO and WBC Bantamweight titles in February 2011, defending them once. He won the WBO Super Bantamweight title in February 2012, defending it three times. He lost the title, and two fights later won the WBA Super World Featherweight title in May of 2014. He lost that title in his first defense.
He re-won the WBO Super Bantamweight title in December 2015 and lost it, having met three defenses. He won the WBC World Bantamweight title in May of 2021 and defended it once. He has made ten defenses.