Keith Thurman to fight in January
By Jeff Aranow: Keith “One Time” Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) will be back in action in January of next year to defend his title, which was decided at the World Boxing Council’s 55th annual convention on Wednesday. Thurman’s opponent is still unclear.
It’s a voluntary defense for the 28-year-old Thurman, so you can expect someone down near the bottom of the WBC’s top 15 rankings.
Thurman has been out of action with an elbow injury since his narrow 12 round decision win over Danny Garcia in March. Thurman has looked kind of heavy in recent photos of him. He’s going to need to drop that weight for him to continue fighting at 147.
After Thurman’s fight in January, he’s expected to face the winner of the November 4th fight between Shawn Porter and Adrian Granados next year. There’s also a possibility that Thurman could fight a unification match against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in late 2018, although I tend to doubt that fight will happen.
Thurman would need to stay healthy in his first two fights in 2018 for him to be available to face Spence in November or December. I wouldn’t hold my breath hoping for Thurman to take a dangerous fight against Spence in 2018.
Due to his injury problems, Thurman has become a “One Time” a year fighter instead of 2 or 3 times per year busy fighter. Thurman fought just once in 2017 in beating Danny Garcia by a 12-round split decision on March 4.
Before that, Thurman fought once in 2016 in defeating Shawn Porter by a 12 round unanimous decision. Both fights were very close. Thurman had a neck injury that kept him from fighting twice in 2016. Thurman probably could have still fought 2 times last year, but he chose to fight just once.
For Thurman’s boxing fans, they argue that it’s not a problem that he’s only fighting once a year, due to him facing good opponents each time. To be sure, Porter and Danny Garcia are very good fighters. Never the less, Thurman isn’t going to be able to carve much of a legacy in boxing if his body only allows him to fight once a year.
Thurman’s fight in January will likely be against one of these fighters in the WBC’s top 15 rankings:
• Bradley Skeete
• Ray Robinson
• Andre Berto
• Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo
• Kerman Lejarraga
• Sam Eggington
• Carlos Adames
• Quadrillo Abduqaxorov
• Diego Chaves
• Konstantin Ponomarev
• Jessie Vargas
As you can see, there are a lot of soft opponents for Thurman to pick from for his next fight. Vargas and Ponomarev are both with Top Rank, so it’s unlikely that either of them will be considered for Thurman’s next fight in January. Berto was just knocked out by Porter recently, so he’s probably not an option either.
Eggington could be a possibility. He’s a British fighter, and a fight between him and Thurman would play out well in the UK. Bradley Skeete is also British, but he’s tall and has a difficult fighting style. He moves a lot, and it would be a hard fight for Thurman to take. That probably rules Skeete out as a possibility. I think Eggington will be the guy that gets the fight unless Thurman’s management decide to fight Berto due to him being more recognizable to the U.S casual boxing fans.