By Radio Rahim
WBC, WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) wants to use 2018 to shake off the rust from his extended layoff.
Thurman was last in the ring back in March of 2017, when he won a twelve round unanimous decision over Danny Garcia to unify their welterweight titles at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The return date for Thurman has been set for May 19, back at Barclays, against an opponent to be determined in the coming weeks.
The long layoff is due in part to Thurman undergoing surgery to clear up an elbow injury, and then the boxer got married.
Thurman say he was injured coming in to Garcia fight and kept things quiet.
"I was injured during the fight and before the fight. I wasn’t going to talk about [the injury before the Garcia fight] - because I didn’t want anyone to know about it. It was one of the reasons for me lowering my punch count and manipulating the situation the way that I did. Overall, I was happy with my performance," Thurman said to BoxingScene.com.
The fight that everyone wants - is a unification showdown between Thurman and IBF champion Errol Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), who makes his second title defense on June 16th.
Thurman also has a mandatory defense owed to Shawn Porter, who is waiting in the wings. And Garcia is pushing hard for a rematch.
The unified champ plans to have another fight in the fall and then he feels he'll be ready for Spence in 2019.
"I can’t come off an injury and go to the top of the ladder. Luckily, I’m at the top. We can possibly have a big fight. Arguably a Shawn Porter rematch. Arguably there’s enough drama to do another Danny Garcia fight. I don’t know what’s going to happen later this year. I know I’m going to be fighting May 19th. I’m going to be getting back in action,” Thurman said.
”I want something big to happen later. But Errol Spence and expanding outside of this unification [with Garcia straight] into another unification - it’s just not going to happen this year. I know that the fans might not understand it, but that’s the way it is. I need to fight twice this year. After that - I’m ready."