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WBA names Keith Thurman’s mandatory challenger

By Dan Ambrose: WBA World welterweight Keith “One Time” Thurman (27-0, 22 KOs) got the bad news on Thursday from the World Boxing Association with them naming interim WBA 147lb champion David Avanesyan (22-1-1, 11 KOs) as his new mandatory challenger.

Thurman, 27, has 30 days to negotiate the fight with the 27-year-old Avanesyan starting from July 14 to August 13 of this year. If the two fighters fail to reach an agreement by that time, then the WBA will order a purse bid. That’s obviously something that Thurman’s adviser Al Haymon will be looking to avoid.

This is not a great fight for Thurman because Avanesyan isn’t well known in the U.S, and there will likely be very little interest in this fight compared to Thurman’s last title defense against former IBF welterweight champion Shawn Porter on June 25 last month. That fight created a lot of interest and brought in big ratings for Premier Boxing Champions.


Avanesyan did not look so great in his last fight in beating 44-year-old Shane Mosley last May by a 12 round unanimous decision in Glendale, Arizona. Avanesyan got the win, but it was closer than you would like to see from a young fight like him. What we saw was Avanesyan barely winning rounds based on activity more so than talent. Had Mosley been a little younger, he likely would have won the fight.

Thurman wants to get the big names so that he can show the boxing world that he’s the guy that can take over for Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the stop star in the division, but he’s being slowed up by having to fight Avanesyan. Thurman hasn’t been matched against a lot of good fighters during his career, and he needs to start facing the best each time out.

Before the Porter fight, Thurman had beaten Luis Collazo, Robert Guerrero and Leonard Bundu in his three previous matches. Thurman just hasn’t been put in with the guys that he needs to for him to become a star. The one fighter that might have helped – or hurt – Thurman’s cause to show that he’s the top talent in the division was Errol Spence Jr., who called him out last year. Thurman turned the fight down with Spence and turned around and took the easier fight against Luis Collazo.


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