By Edward Chaykovsky
According to promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, there is a possibility that IBO/WBA/IBF middleweight champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (34-0, 31KOs) will make his UK debut by the end of the year. Loffler informed Sky Sports that he held for a possible Golovkin fight at West Ham's stadium.
Several names are being eyed by Loeffler, including WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders, WBA mandatory Chris Eubank Jr., IBF super middleweight champion James DeGale and even tough former beltholder Andy Lee.
Golovkin was in London over the weekend, in attendance when West Ham drew with Manchester City. His presence started the early rumors that a Golovkin fight was heading to the UK in the near future.
The unbeaten champion is slated to return to the ring on April 23rd against an opponent to be determined. Should he win, the next fight would come in September - potentially against WBC champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez if the two sides reach an agreement.
Loeffler broke down the options for a UK debut. He sees Saunders and Eubank as the two perfect opponents, with DeGale and Lee being considerations that are not far behind the pack.
They tried to get a unification with Saunders for April, but the newly crowned WBO champ has other ideas and wasn't very interested in their financial offer. Eubank has a guaranteed shot at WBA champion Daniel Jacobs, and DeGale has a mandatory obligation coming in the next few months but he's expressed a lot of interest in getting Golovkin in the ring.
"Absolutely [we'd be interested in fighting in the UK], at Upton Park or the Olympic Stadium," Loeffler told Sky Sports. "We were invited by David Sullivan. He expressed interest in Gennady fighting there so now we have to explore the opponent. It's an interesting option to have the owner of a football club host an event for Gennady. We sat down at the table in the chairman's room at the stadium and Sullivan said he was a fan."
"If they don't make a big local fight for Eubank then that could potentially be big, but the one that makes the most sense just because he's the champion would be a unification fight with Saunders. By the end of 2016 or spring in 2017, depending on the opponent. If Saunders makes a defence then wants a fight in July, that's a stadium fight. It's certainly possible before the end of 2016. England has become an important market for Gennady whether it's against Saunders or Eubank Jr, ever since he fought Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray."
"[Eubank] would be the perfect scenario because he's a self-promoter who stirs the pot. Gennady is so respectful that sometimes it helps to have a brash opponent. Curtis Stevens did it but crossed the line - that's Gennady's Eastern Bloc mentality. Gennady punished him for a couple of extra rounds more than he needed to. We made an offer [to fight Saunders] and they didn't turn it down, they just wanted a couple of defences to build up a future fight."
"I have a feeling that Andy Lee, if he had won [against Saunders] would have been a massive fight in New York because we made a deal with him once before but unfortunately Gennady's father passed away. Andy is still on the radar. DeGale is another big fight in the UK. Sure, it's been discussed, that's something that's interesting on our side too. If the timing is right, if DeGale makes another couple of defences that fight could be out there by the end of 2016."