Gennady Golovkin's reign as the IBF middleweight champion is over.
The governing body announced on June 5 that the undefeated middleweight star has been stripped of his belt after refusing to fight mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko. The news comes after the IBF and representatives for both Golovkin and Derevyanchenko met on May 22 to discuss whether or not Golovkin could potentially move on to fighting someone else and still keep his IBF title.
As for who will fight for the vacant title, Derevyanchenko would be one of the participants in the fight. The second-highest ranked contender is Daniel Jacobs, who is currently negotiating a fight with Canelo Alvarez. The situation started when Golovkin's fight against Alvarez for this past May 5 was canceled after Alvarez withdrew from the fight after testing positive for clenbuterol.
Promoter Lou DiBella and Derevyanchenko then tried to get the IBF to enforce a fight between Golovkin and Derevyanchenko. After Golovkin chose to fight Vanes Martirosyan on May 5, the IBF did not sanction the fight and so the title was not on the line in the fight. The governing body did also rule that Golovkin would have to fight Derevyanchenko by August 3 or risk being stripped of the title, but Golovkin chose to continue pursuing a rematch with Alvarez. Talks fell through after Golovkin refused to budge on his 50-50 purse split demands.
Although Golovkin is no longer the IBF champion, he still holds the WBA "super" and WBC middleweight titles. With Golovkin no longer having to worry about defending his IBF belt, there are still a number of potential challengers for him. Jermall Charlo currently holds the interim WBC middleweight title won back in April and would be the WBC's mandatory challenger for the belt. Charlo also is the No. 4 ranked middleweight on the IBF's official rankings.
Billy Joe Saunders, who holds the WBO title, has been linked to a fight with Golovkin for years, but the fight never materialized. There is also Ryota Murata, who holds the WBA "regular" middleweight title and would be a candidate to fight Golovkin as the WBA wants to decrease the number of world titles per weight class.
Golovkin has held the IBF middleweight title since 2015 when he knocked out David Lemieux on pay-per-view. Golovkin has successfully defended his title four times with his last defense being against Alvarez when the fight ended in a split draw.