Keith Thurman vacates WBC welterweight title
By Dan Ambrose: In a surprise move, Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) reportedly vacated his WBC welterweight title on Tuesday, and the World Boxing Council has now ordered a fight between #2 WBC Shawn Porter and #1 Danny Garcia to fight for the vacant title.
There’s no word yet whether Thurman has vacated his WBA title as well. It’s possible that Thurman may vacate that title as well. With all the time that Thurman has been out of the ring since his last fight in March of 2017, it’s longer overdue for the World Boxing Association to strip him of his belt.
Surprisingly, the WBC didn’t strip Thurman of his welterweight title with their organization and change his status to champion in recess, but you can bet that’s what they were planning on doing. By Thurman vacating his title today, he might have beat the WBC to the punch by giving up the belt rather than having it stripped from him.
Thurman, 29, will be the mandatory challenger for the new WBC welterweight champion once he comes back from his latest injury to his hand. That’s if Thurman wants to fight for the WBC belt, as he currently is the WBA champion.
It’ll be strange if the WBC makes Thurman the mandatory for their title, as he’s still the WBA welterweight champion.
There’s no excuse for Thurman not to make the fight with IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. now. Thurman doesn’t have to worry about taking care of his WBC mandatory obligation. He just needs to defend his WBA title if they don’t strip him of his title.
Thurman last fought on March 4 last year in defeating Danny Garcia by a 12 round split decision at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Thurman had elbow surgery after the fight, and he’s been out ever since. Thurman was supposed to be returning to the ring for a tune-up fight on May 19th against a soft opponent, but he suffered a hand injury training. He’s expected to come back from that injury in June or July.
Thurman has had injury problems since 2016, which has limited him to one fight per year. Thurman originally talked of wanting to fight 3 times in 2018, but now he’s hoping to fight 2 times. He might have to limit that to one time if his hand doesn’t heal up soon. If Thurman fights just once this year, it would mean that he’s fought once per year for the last three years of his career.
It would be better for boxing if Thurman were to vacate or have his WBA title stripped from him, because the contenders in the WBA’s rankings are just sitting and waiting for him to come back. It’s not fair to them to lose a year of their career waiting for a champion with injury problems sitting idle.
Thurman won the WBC title last year with his 12 round decision win over Danny Garcia. Unfortunately, Thurman never did defend the title.