Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin also known as ‘GGG’ is without a doubt one of the best and most feared middleweights in the last 20 years. Golovkin is definitely a fan favorite due to his pressurizing style and knock-out power which makes boxing and casual fans want to watch his fights. GGG’s boxing style is also more complex than people give him credit for and in this post, I’ll look at his background, accomplishments, and elements of his style you can try to bring into your own game.
Who is Golovkin?
Golovkin is a Kazakhstani professional boxer who has pretty much dominated the middleweight division for the last 8-9 years winning multiple world titles (see below). In this period between 2008-2017, GGG built up a 23 knockout streak which is the highest KO-to-win percentage in middleweight history – 87%! It’s no wonder so many avoided him!
In this long reign as middleweight champion, Kazakhstani has defeated high-profile contenders and world champions including; Daniel Gaele, Kell Brook, David Lemieux, and Daniel Jacobs. However, his highest-profile fights have come against ‘Canelo’ Alvarez who he drew and suffered his first defeat in 2018 – which many claims he won both (myself included).
Triple G also has an extensive amateur career including an Olympic Silver Medal at Athens in 2004 which shows you how long he has been around! Golovkin has also recently signed a 6 fight deal with DAZN which is fantastic news for boxing fans as we still have a couple more years of watching this true middleweight great. I’m still expecting a few more “big drama shows” as GGG so famously says.
As I said above Golovkin has dominated one boxing division (middleweight), which may not seem like a lot for some but when you consider he made a record 20 title defenses, equaled with Bernard Hopkins – it is truly remarkable!
WBC middleweight title
IBF middleweight title x2
WBA (Super and Regular) middleweight titles
The Ring Magazine middleweight belt
IBO middleweight title x2
2000 – Gold at Junior World Championships – light welterweight
2001 – Gold at East Asian Games – Welterweight
2002 – Gold at Asian Games – light middleweight
2002 – Gold at Astana Boxing World Cup
2003 – Gold at Bangkok World Championships – Middleweight
2004 – Gold at Asian Championships
2004 – Silver at Athens Olympic Games – Middleweight
Golovkin’s Boxing Style
Golovkin very much has a fan-friendly style which he plays in his favor, he mixes an eastern European style with a Mexican style which is quite unusual, but has clearly worked for him over his many years of dominance. GGG primarily uses his style to create panic and pressure on his opponent to control the pace and pin them against the ropes so he can apply his KO power through hooks and looping overhand shots.
I’ll go over it in more detail below.
The Pressure Fighter – ‘Mexican style’
If you are to watch Golovkin, you will notice he has created a style very similar to how Mexican fighters try to apply constant pressure on their opponents. Golovkin however has applied a twist to this style by using a stiff and very powerful left jab. Generally, this hurts and pushes the opposition to move onto their back foot helping him to cut off the ring leaving them with nowhere to run but against the ropes!
Since GGG moved to America and started training with former trainer Abel Sanchez they have clearly worked to apply this style, which resembles one of the all-time great Mexican fighters in Julio César Chávez who was known for this resilient intelligent pressure.
So why do this? Well, constant pressure can result in your opponent rushing their work and making mistakes – this helps to create an opening for Golovkin to cut off the ring and apply his perfected power shots which I will go on to explain next.
The Jab and Power Shots
Triple G’s power shots are some of the best in boxing, but how does he manage to apply this over and over again? Well, it starts with his stiff powerful jab which he uses to push forward into his opponent so he can get closer to them or put them against the ropes. Because of the power behind this, his opposition reacts too easily to his feints or tries to move out of the way. GGG smartly changes the rhythm and location of where he throws the Jab which results in them panicking or rushing their work, therefore leaving openings for Kazakh.
Once Golovkin has them where wants them, he will get to work with his perfectly timed power shot. Due to being up close, he is now able to make slight foot movement to the left to apply a sickeningly strong liver shot which Mexican fighters are known to throw very often.
He also uses the weight of his body by twisting and keeping his head offline to provide unpredictable devastating punches that most don’t see coming.
GGG also likes to apply a sneaky southpaw stance shift at certain points during his offensive. Instead of leading with his usual stiff left jab, he’ll put his body behind a right hand which almost acts as a right cross. With all his body shifting onto the southpaw stance after throwing the right, he then almost immediately follows up by throwing a sneaky left cross or hook to the body that leaves his opponent in a panic to move out the way or cover-up.
Check out Lee Wylie’s insightful video on how GGG uses this technique along with other ways he applies a ‘Hunter’ like pressure style below:
Now the defense is probably something not that many associates with Triple G, due to his attacking output. However, Golovkin’s defense is very underrated and many of his opponents have struggled to hit him cleanly. Here is a list of defensive things he does well.
- Tucking his chin
- Parrying with the jab
- Moving his head off centre when throwing punches
- Defensive footwork – taking a slight step back with a pivot back to the centre of the ring
- Controlling distance
- Getting behind his lead shoulder
It’s actually a lot of things he does very well, making him in actual fact one of the hardest fighters to hit cleanly! It also helps that Golovkin has one of the best chins in boxing which must give him a lot of confidence when he expects to be countered. Check out HaNZAgod’s video below on Golovkin’s defensive highlights to see all this action!
Golovkin, for me, is without a doubt one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history and is the reason why so many of us love to watch the sport with his action-packed offensive style. If you are an up-and-coming boxer and want to implement some of the above into your style you can definitely learn a lot from studying him.
Although a lot of GGG techniques seem fairly simple, it is in actual fact a very high-risk style for any beginner to implement. It’s vitally important to get the basics right before you start trying these out in sparring. Just remember you will need to be fearless and very powerful if this style of boxing is to work for you.
You can also check out my in-depth look at Golovkin training or why not check out my analysis on arch-rival Canelo.
Check out my Canelo vs Golovkin 3 fighter preview here.
Thanks for reading!
Lee Wylie: https://www.youtube.com/user/LeeWylie1