New York - Gennady Golovkin reclaimed his IBF title on Saturday, defeating Sergiy Derevyanchenko by a unanimous decision in a bruising middleweight fight at Madison Square Garden.
Golovkin knocked Derevyanchenko down in the first round and cut him over the eye in the second but had to dig deep to beat the stubborn Ukrainian, who made his opponent look all of his 37 years.
"It's a bad day for me but a huge experience," said Golovkin. "After the first round I didn't think this was an easy fight. I told myself this is a tough fight."
With the vacant middleweight title on the line, Derevyanchenko fought a brave fight landing solid body shots and getting Golovkin in trouble several times.
He recovered quickly from the knockdown but it didn't help him in the scoring department in what was a surprisingly close fight.
One judge scored it 114-113 and the other two had it 115-112 for Golovkin.
The 37-year-old Golovkin improved to 40-1-1 as he regained the belt he first won in 2015.
Golovkin defended the title with wins against Dominic Wade, Kell Brook and Daniel Jacobs and with a draw against Mexico's Canelo Alvarez.
Golovkin was stripped of the IBF title last year when he failed to make a mandatory defense against Derevyanchenko, opting instead for a rematch with Alvarez -- who handed Golovkin the first defeat of his career.
Derevyanchenko, who falls to 13-2 with 10 KOs, was hoping to score a huge upset and dim the prospects for a third Golovkin-Alvarez bout in 2020.