Saturday, September 23, 2023  |



Keith Thurman eyes stoppage win against Leonard Bundu

Fighters Network

Welterweight Keith Thurman plans to deliver another knockout victory, this time against Leonard Bundu on Dec. 13, according to trainer Dan Birmingham. The fight will support a Showtime tripleheader headlined by 147-pounders Amir Khan and Devon Alexander.

Nicknamed “One Time,” Thurman (23-0, 21 knockouts) is coming off a third-round TKO of former lightweight titlist Julio Diaz in April, marking his third straight stoppage win.

Last December, Thurman scored a ninth-round technical stoppage over Jesus Soto Karass. Prior to that, Thurman registered a 10th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Diego Chaves in July 2013, flooring the Argentine once each in the ninth and final rounds.

So Birmingham expects nothing less than an early ending from Thurman against Bundu (31-0-2, 11 KOs), who turns 40 on Nov. 21 – two days before Thurman’s 26th birthday.

“I think that every fight with Keith can be a knockout,” said Birmingham, “so, yeah, I’m looking for a knockout. Especially with this guy because he likes to hang in there really close.”

A resident of Italy who was born in Sierra Leone, Bundu has scored knockouts in four of his past six victories but will be fighting on American soil for the first time against Thurman. Bundu is also the current European welterweight titlist, holding the belt since June 2011.

“We don’t know a whole lot other than what we’ve seen on video,” said Birmingham of Bundu, who is listed at nearly 5-foot-7 – an inch shorter than Thurman. “We know that he’s short, strong and that he likes to come forward. He’s not a big puncher; it appears to me.”

Bundu’s unanimous decision victory over Frankie Gavin in August ended his run of three consecutive stoppage wins. Gavin also represented Bundu’s third triumph over a previously undefeated fighter in his past eight appearances.

In consecutive bouts against Italy’s Daniel Petrucci, Bundu battled to an eighth-round technical draw in June 2011 before winning their rematch by unanimous decision less than five months later.

“He switches from rightie to leftie every 30 seconds or so or every minute,” said Birmingham of Bundu. “He’s just switching it up all the time. But on Dec. 13, at the Mandalay Bay on Showtime, he’s going to be 31-1; that’s all that I know.”

An attractive co-feature matching undefeated junior middleweights Jermell Charlo and WBO titleholder Demetrius Andrade has also been set for the card, according to Andrade’s co-promoters, Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing, and Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions.

“Everything is fine with Charlo and Andrade. The fight is going to happen,” said Pelullo. “The fight is a go and it’s been approved. It’s going to be on Dec. 13 on Showtime from the Mandalay Bay. There is no issue on the fight. Everything is good. The fight is going forward.”