Thurman Takes Non-Title Clash with Tszyu in Stride

By Robbie Bannatyne - 02/15/2024 - Comments

Keith Thurman says he’s not bothered that his fight against Tim Tszyu won’t be for his WBO junior middleweight title on March 30th for their Amazon Prime PPV kickoff event in Las Vegas.

The former unified welterweight champion Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) states that he sees it as just a “political piece of drama” not getting the opportunity to fight for Tszyu’s belt. It does seem to bother the 35-year-old ‘One Time.

He clearly wanted the chance to capture the WBO 154-lb belt, as it would give him a chess piece that could be used to lure Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jr. into fighting him. Those are the paydays Thurman covets, but his chances of getting those fights are slim without a title to entice them.

Unfazed and Focused

“It’s just one more political piece of drama I have to deal with in my career. ‘You’re not fighting for the belt,'” said Keith Thurman to MillCity Boxing about his fight against Tim Tszyu being a non-title affair on March 30th on Amazon Prime PPV.

“It’s just boxing. It’s a great fight for the sport and a great fight to kick off with a new network. We’ve got a great undercard lined up. I’m looking forward to it and getting back in the ring.”

Thurman should worry about winning because he’s the underdog, and if he loses, it’ll ruin his chances of ever getting Crawford or Spence to face him. Given that Thurman only fights once every 2+ years, he’d be too old to get either of those guys to fight him when he returns to the ring in 2026.

“I’m going to do what I do and represent the red, white, and blue and put it on this boy. Show him something he hasn’t seen before. Confidence through the roof. I’m going to pull that old veteran card and be true to who I am.

The Tszyu Choice

“Hopefully, put on a good performance, shake up the 154-lb division, and let him know that Thurman is here. Tim was a last minute. I was trying to fight for a belt. We were trying to line up Stanionis,” said Thurman when asked why he chose to fight Tszyu.

“I’ve done 147. I’ve played that story. It felt like a repeat. Nothing against the young champion. Thurman against anybody, you’re going to see a great fight because you get to see the dynamics,” said Thurman.

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