Keith Thurman relinquishes WBC title; Shawn Porter-Danny Garcia ordered for vacant belt
Keith Thurman’s WBC welterweight title is now up for grabs.
THE RING’s No. 1 welterweight relinquished his belt on Tuesday while he continues to recover from injuries to his elbow and hand. He’s been on the shelf since March 2016, when he outpointed Danny Garcia to become unified champion at 147 pounds.
The 29-year-old’s return was scheduled for May 19 on Showtime, but he suffered a hand injury (following elbow surgery last year) and was forced to withdraw. Now, Garcia and Shawn Porter will vie for the vacant title after the WBC ordered the fight.
“Due to my rehabilitation from my injuries, I agreed to relinquish my WBC title at this time,” said Thurman, who will retain his WBA welterweight title. “I continue to rehab my hand and elbow and I look forward to getting back in the ring this summer. This is a temporary setback and I will be the unified champion once again and look forward to winning back my WBC title as soon as possible.”
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said Thurman (28-0, 22 knockouts) will be able to challenge the new titleholder for the belt as soon as he’s healthy and able. Thurman figures to fight a softer opponent in his comeback bout after what will amount to about a 18-month layoff.
He was approaching pound-for-pound status before injuries derailed him. Thurman scored a thrilling decision victory over Porter before he topped Garcia, and with his bountiful charisma and unique personality, a star turn seemed attainable.
The injuries put those plans to a screeching halt.
“Keith Thurman unfortunately has suffered two consecutive injuries that have kept him out of the ring after his sensational victory over Danny Garcia and he has graciously relinquished his title, and the WBC has mandated that Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will fight for the title,” said Sulaiman. “Keith will have a direct path to fight for the title once he has healed just as Vitali Klitschko and other WBC champions have done in the past.
“Keith is a tremendous athlete, champion and role model. The WBC will support him completely during this difficult time.”
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger