Undefeated WBA and IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin was in blazing form in Monte Carlo on Saturday night, destroying Nobuhiro Ishida’s ambitions with a clinical third round knockout.
A straight right hand over the top caught Ishida high and instantly knocked him unconscious, marking a seventh successful title defence for the impressive champion.
Golovkin stalked the taller Japanese from the start, putting him under sustained pressure. A succession of right hands pointed to better things and so it proved when he dropped the boom at the 2:20 mark of the third round.
Asked who he might fight next, Golovkin was nonplussed: “It doesn’t matter.”
Earlier, unbeaten super-middleweight Edwin Rodriguez ended the unbeaten run of Argentina’s Ezequiel Maderna in a tempestuous 10-rounder to advance to the final of the “Million Dollar Super Four”.
Rodriguez won by scores of 96-92, 96, 95-92.
The USBA champion was deducted a point in each of rounds eight and nine, for a low blow and a rabbit punch respectively, but did enough to win comfortably.
He came on strongly at the end and scored a knockdown in the ninth to ensure the win. It was a scrappy affair with plenty of clinching, Rodriguez later awarding himself a 6.5/10 mark for his performance.
In the other Super Four semifinal, marginal favourite Denis Grachev inflicted a first ever defeat on former two-time world champion Zsolt Erdei, capturing a split decision (96-94, 96-94, 94-96).
Grachev’s busy style earned him points, but Erdei was the more accurate as he landed solid lefts and rights throughout an absorbing contest.
Grachev’s workrate down the stretch saw him sneak the win, although it was a close run thing.
Honoured to be fighting before Prince Albert and Princes Charlene of Monaco, Erdei promptly left the ring to hand his gloves to the prince, who was delighted.
Sergey Rabchenko was all business as he dispatched four-time Italian champion Adriano Nicchi in double-quick time, ending matters via TKO in the third.
Ranked No 2 by the WBC, the Belarussian successfully defended his European light-middleweight crown.
Cruiserweight Ilunga Makabu endeared himself to the crowd through his power punching and ability to speak fluent French.
The Democratic Republic of Congo native walked down previously unbeaten Tamas Lodi, putting him down with a left-hook right-hook combination to end it at 1:21 in the third.
In the show opener, junior-welterweight Kiril Relikh scored a first round knockout against Paolo Gassani.