- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin, fresh off a seventh-round destruction of Gabriel Rosado on Jan. 19, is wasting no time getting back into the ring.
Golovkin will return to make his seventh title defense on March 30 in Monte Carlo, Monaco, according to K2 promoter Tom Loeffler. His opponent is not signed yet, but likely will be Nobuhiro Ishida, Loeffler told ESPN.com Thursday.
Ishida (24-8-2, 9 KOs), of Japan, is a former interim junior middleweight titlist who gained attention in 2011 when he pulled off a major upset by knocking out James Kirkland in the first round in Las Vegas. But Ishida, 37, has lost his past two bouts, dropping a shutout decision to Paul Williams in a junior middleweight fight in February 2012, followed by a lopsided decision loss in May to Dmitry Pirog in Russia in a middleweight title fight.
The March fight is meant for Golovkin, 30, to stay busy before a probable fight in June on HBO, which has televised his past two bouts but is not involved in the fight in Monte Carlo.
"We would look for the biggest names that would fight him by that time," Loeffler said of the June bout. "Hopefully someone steps up (to fight Golovkin) with the bigger HBO budget."
Golovkin (25-0, 22 KOs), who is from Kazakhstan but trains in the United States, would like to face any of the big names in the division.
First on his list is titleholder Daniel Geale, who easily outpointed Australian countryman Anthony Mundine to retain his belt Wednesday.
"I was impressed with Daniel Geale's performance and wish to publicly congratulate him on his victory," Golovkin said. "I know this was personal for him as he had lost previously to Mundine and he certainly got his revenge."
Another fight Golovkin would like is against former titlist Felix Sturm, who refused to fight Golovkin even when it was a mandatory fight. Sturm eventually lost his belt to Geale, and will fight Sam Soliman Friday in Germany in a title eliminator.
"I also want to wish Felix Sturm the best of luck in his upcoming bout against Soliman," Golovkin said. "I'm sure he was quite disappointed losing to Geale last September and is looking to shine against Soliman. Felix avoided me as his mandatory for over two years when he was champion, but I will give him the opportunity to fight for his old title whenever he would like to."
Geale gave up one of his belts to face Mundine rather than face Golovkin in a mandatory fight.
Titleholder Peter Quillin is another opponent Golovkin is interested in. Quillin makes his first title defense against Fernando Guerrero on April 27 in Brooklyn, N.Y. The card was postponed from Feb. 9 because junior welterweight titlist Danny Garcia, who faces former titlist Zab Judah in the main event, suffered a rib injury.
"I'm aware that his fight with Fernando Guerrero was pushed back until the end of April. He's talked about fighting me in the past and I'm certainly interested if he's serious," Golovkin said.
Division champion Sergio Martinez is an unlikely opponent, as much as Golovkin would love the fight. Martinez promoter Lou DiBella barely acknowledges Golovkin's existence and had downplayed the possibility of the fight. Besides, Martinez is scheduled to face Martin Murray on April 27 and then, with a win, probably will face former titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a rematch in September.
"I want the biggest fights and the best challenges, as I've said all along," Golovkin said. "With HBO broadcasting my fights, either Geale or Sturm would be a perfect fight this year. Geale said after the fight (with Mundine) that he wanted to fight in the U.S. this year. Look no further -- we can make a title unification bout this summer."
Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin will return to make his seventh title defense on March 30 in Monte Carlo, Monaco, according to K2 promoter Tom Loeffler.