Fletcher set for dream shot at Golovkin
Jarrod Fletcher, left, is set for a dream world title shot. Pic: Getty Images

Jarrod Fletcher is in line for a dream shot at the world middleweight title with news the World Boxing Association has made the 30-year-old Australian their mandatory challenger to champion Gennady Golovkin.

"This is a massive opportunity for me, I'm over the moon," Fletcher said.

"We've been pushing for this fight for some time."

Fletcher's manager Adam Wilcock says the date of the fight could be as early as July 19 or 26, at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Golovkin had been in talks to fight Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr but they fell through.

Aussie Daniel Geale was then expected to step in after his proposed meeting with Matthew Macklin was cancelled. But the WBA has ordered unbeaten Golovkin to start negotiations with No.2 ranked challenger Fletcher.

Dmitry Chudinov, their No.1 ranked challenger and interim champion, is already committed to fight Patrick Nielsen in Russia on June 1.

The pair have 30 days to reach an agreement or the WBA will call for a purse bid.

“We’re not going to step aside for any amount of money so Golovkin either makes a deal with us or he must vacate the title, which he isn’t going to do,” Wilcock said.

Wilcock said the last 12 months had been frustrating for his fighter, culminating in the cancellation of his fight with England's Martin Murray in Monaco in February. The fight lost its full world title status and Murray pulled out.

"It was a setback because that would have been Jarrod's first fight for a world title," he said.

"But instead he fought (Ukraine's) Max Bursak and came through that quite comfortably.

"Jarrod is in that halfway land where people in boxing know who he is, that he has talent, and they don't want their fighters to fight him.

"On the flipside to that, people who aren't die-hard fans have not heard of Jarrod Fletcher so he's not a big enough name to fight the star names."

Fearsome Golovkin, considered by many the top man in the division, will go into the fight as an overwhelming favourite, having won all 29 of his fights, 26 early.

Queensland-based Fletcher’s record is 18 wins (10 early) and one loss, which came against England's Billy Joe Saunders in London in 2012.

The stoppage by the referee seemed premature, although Saunders did wobble Fletcher with a sharp left before forcing the Australian 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner to take a knee.

"It was an early stoppage but Jarrod accepts he was caught by Billy Joe and wobbled for the first time in 200 fights, amateur and professional," Wilcock said.

"But he's a better boxer now. That loss gave him the resolve. He has always been spoken of as the man who was going to fight for world titles, and that loss showed him it wasn't going to be a smooth road.

"It made him work harder and work on his game."

Eight weeks after the loss to Saunders, Fletcher outpointed Perth's Robbie Bryant at the WA Italian Club.

"That fight was tough for him mentally," Wilcock said. "No disrespect to Robbie but a fighter of Jarrod's ability should always beat Bryant. But going into the fight, for the first time there were question marks about his chin."

But Wilcock knows Golovkin will offer an examination unlike anything Fletcher has sat before.

"No, this will be a tremendous test," he said.

"But Jarrod won't be like his (Golovkin's) last eight or nine opponents who have just come forward, head down and take punishment.

"He knows he has to box and move, and he has the ability to do it."

The West Australian

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