Gennadiy Golovkin predictably pummeled overmatched mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta on Friday night in Hollywood, Florida.

Kazakhstan’s Golovkin knocked down the game Szeremeta four times – once apiece in the first, second, fourth and seventh rounds – before Szeremeta’s corner men asked referee Telis Assimenios to stop their scheduled 12-round fight following the seventh round. Golovkin established a boxing record by making his 21st defense of a middleweight title in the main event of a six-fight card at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

The 38-year-old Golovkin, who went off as a 25-1 favorite, upped his record to 41-1-1 and produced his 36th knockout. The 31-year-old Szeremeta lost for the first time as a pro (21-1, 5 KOs).

“[It was] not a big surprise because, you know, it’s [a] high level,” Golovkin told DAZN’s Todd Grisham. “Kamil Szeremeta, he's a great boxer. You know, come on, guys. I’m not surprised. I just – I feel very comfortable because, you know, like, I work hard, I had a lot of time, I have a lot of good people with me, you know, [to] support me. I’m very proud of my team.”

Golovkin credited Szeremeta’s team for realizing their fighter was “done” and stopping their bout before he took any more punishment.

Beating Szeremeta satisfied Golovkin’s obligation with the IBF to face its mandated challenger. Szeremeta is ranked third by the IBF, but the top two spots in its 160-pound rankings have been vacant for over a year.

Szeremeta entered the ring unbeaten, but he had faced a low level of opposition before he challenged Golovkin.

Golovkin fought for the first time since his spectacular slugfest against Sergiy Derevyanchenko 14 months ago at Madison Square Garden in New York. Golovkin defeated Ukraine’s Derevyanchenko by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant IBF middleweight title in October 2019.

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Szeremeta ended the same layoff as Golovkin on Friday night, as he knocked out Oscar Cortes in the second round on the Golovkin-Derevyanchenko undercard.

The challenger was on the wrong end of a one-sided beating in this fight.

A stiff jab by Golovkin sent Szeremeta to the canvas about a minute into the seventh round, for the fourth time in the fight. Szeremeta got up once again and took some more punishment for the remainder of the seventh round.

Szeremeta absorbed more punishment during the sixth round, when Golovkin caught him with a right uppercut and a straight right that moved him backward.

After flooring Szeremeta in three of the first four rounds, Golovkin didn’t land as many damaging shots in the fifth round.

A short, left hook on the inside sent Szeremeta to the canvas with 1:06 to go in the fourth round. Szeremeta reached his feet yet again and courageously continued, only to take a brutal left to the body from Golovkin a few seconds later.

Golovkin worked well off his jab during the third round. He drilled Szeremeta with a right uppercut and then a thudding right to the body in the final minute of the third round.

Golovkin rocked Szeremeta with a right hand barely a minute into the second round. Szeremeta held Golovkin to withstand that trouble.

Another right hand by Golovkin landed to the side of Szeremeta’s head and sent him to the canvas with 47 seconds to go in the second round. Szeremeta answered Assimenios’ count, though, and made it to the end of that round.

Szeremeta landed a straight right late in the first round, but it didn’t affect Golovkin. Toward the very end of the opening round, however, Golovkin connected with a right uppercut that buzzed Szeremeta and then a left hook that sent him to the canvas.

Szeremeta got up and Golovkin couldn’t capitalize on hurting Szeremeta because the round ended.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.