By Keith Idec
Keith Thurman didn’t mention an opponent or a date, but he indicated late Tuesday night that he plans to return to the ring sometime this summer.
The unbeaten WBA welterweight champion stated in a Tweet, “I continue to rehab my hand and elbow and I look forward to getting back in the ring this summer. This is a temporary setback and I will be the unified champion once again.”
The temporary setback to which the often-injured Thurman referred was the announcement earlier Tuesday that he has given up the WBC welterweight title he won from Danny Garcia last year. Mauricio Sulaiman, the president of the WBC, told BoxingScene.com on Tuesday that Thurman vacated the sanctioning organization’s 147-pound championship and that he’d order Garcia and Shawn Porter to fight for it.
Philadelphia’s Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) is the WBC’s No. 1-ranked challenger for its welterweight title. Las Vegas’ Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs), who lost a very competitive WBA welterweight title fight to Thurman in June 2016, is ranked No. 2.
“Due to my rehabilitation from my injuries, I agreed to relinquish my WBC title at this time,” Thurman said in a statement released Tuesday night by Premier Boxing Champions. “I continue to rehab my hand and elbow and I look forward to getting back in the ring this summer. This is a temporary setback and I will be the unified champion once again and look forward to winning back my WBC title as soon as possible.”
Sulaiman indicated that once Thurman is healthy and wants to fight for the WBC title again, he will have “a direct path” toward that opportunity.
The 29-year-old Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) hasn’t fought since defeating Garcia by split decision in their welterweight title unification fight in March 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Clearwater, Florida, native had surgery to remove loose bodies and calcium deposits in his right elbow a year ago and his rehabilitation took longer than he expected.
Thurman was tentatively scheduled to return to the ring in what he called “a get-back fight” on May 19 at Barclays Center. He hadn’t chosen an opponent in what would’ve been his first fight in 14½ months before postponing his return late last month due to a deeply bruised left hand, an injury sustained during training.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.