By Ron Goodall
Welterweight world champion Keith “One Time” Thurman will return to the ring against Josesito Lopez that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FOX at the Barclays Center in New York City January 26.
Thurman has last been seen in a boxing ring back in March 2017 when he unified with an undefeated, 2 division world champion, Danny Garcia for the WBC & WBA “Super” welterweight titles.
At that time, British professional, Kell Brook held the IBF welterweight title and 8 division world champion, Manny Pacquiao held the WBO welterweight title after defeating Jessie Vargas in 2016.
Since then, Kell Brook faced and lost his IBF title to mandatory challenger & former Olympian Errol Spence Jr in May of 2017. Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao lost his WBO title in a controversial decision to, Australian professional, Jeff Horn in July of 2017. Jeff Horn’s reign as champion would end later to Terence Crawford. Terence Crawford was moving up in weight after being the undisputed light welterweight champion to challenge Jeff Horn.
Thurman would later vacate his WBC welterweight title after being out more than a year from the ring due to reported injuries. Without a title holder, the WBC ordered #1 Danny Garcia to meet #2 Shawn Porter for the vacant belt, with Thurman fighting the winner on his return. Shawn Porter would be victorious and win the WBC welterweight title in a split decision back in September 2018.
Thurman defended his WBA “Super” in 2016 against Shawn Porter when they first met in a fight of the year candidate where all three judges scored 115-113 for Thurman as the winner.
22 Months later, Keith Thurman will look to unify the division with a whole new crop of champions entering 2019. With the most likely fight to be with the winner between Shawn Porter & Yordenis Ugas on March 9, 2019, for the WBC welterweight title he vacated.