Gennadiy Golovkin has known of Sergiy Derevyanchenko for more than a decade.
He doesn’t expect any past—or lesser—version to show up for their upcoming fight.
“I know him, I remember him from 2008, he represented the national Ukraine team,” Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (39-1-1, 35KOs) noted of his forthcoming rival, whom he will face for a vacant title on Oct. 5 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. “He came to Germany for sparring. He came to Kazakhstan for the World Series of Boxing (2012-14). He looks good.”
Their upcoming clash—which will stream live on DAZN—will mark Golovkin’s seventh overall appearance on MSG grounds and fifth in the main room, including his 4th round knockout of Steve Rolls in June along with three previous title fights during his record-tying reign atop the middleweight division, which came to an end following a disputed 12-round loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their rematch last September.
Derevyanchenko (13-1, 10KOs)—a 2008 Olympian for Ukraine who now lives and trains in Brooklyn, New York—makes his second attempt at a major title, coming up just short in a split decision defeat to stablemate Daniel Jacobs last October at MSG’s Hulu Theater.
That particular bout came under unusual circumstances for the now-33 year old middleweight contender. Because he and Jacobs share the same training and management team, hard choices were made as to who would serve in which corner. Head trainer Andre Rozier chose Jacobs due to their lengthier relationship, leaving Derevyanchenko to train with and take fight night instructions from assistant trainer Gary Stark Sr., who took the lead on fight night.
“I thought it was a good fight, a tooth and nail fight,” notes Johnathon Banks, a former cruiserweight contender who has taken over the training reins for Golovkin. “I think the knockdown saved the fight for Jacobs. That was the gap on the scorecards, that knockdown.”
Jacobs was awarded a 115-112 final tally on two of the three official scorecards. The dissenting judge scored it 114-113 in favor of Derevyanchenko, who rebounded from the lone loss of his career with a 12-round win over Germany’s Jack Culcay in their title eliminator this past April. It marked his first win in more than a year, but more importantly his first full camp back with the entire team in tow.
“Right now, they have a different coach (than from the Jacobs fight). He’s back with Andre Rozier,” notes Golovkin.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox