Welterweight champion survived some scary moments against "Riverside Rocky" in his first fight in nearly two years to retain his WBA title Saturday night on PBC on FOX in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn, N.Y. — Some fighters just have it. That rare gift which allows them to do things most people can’t.
No matter how long they’re away from the ring. No matter who they oppose.
No matter if there is a trace of doubt in the deepest recesses of their mind.
Keith Thurman entered the ring versus Josesito Lopez with questions hanging over his head about whether he was fully healed from multiple injuries—and if he could overcome 22 months of rust.
But Thurman has that rare gift. It’s why he survived a rocky seventh round versus Lopez on Saturday night, a frame where he was walloped by a Lopez left hook followed by a straight right.
Thurman, now (29-0, 22 KOs), bore through the toughest challenge of his career to defend the WBA world welterweight championship, beating Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs) by majority decision before 9,623 at Barclays Center in the main event of PBC on FOX.
Judges Tom Schreck (117-109) and Steve Weisfeld (115-111) both saw it for Thurman, while judge Don Ackerman had it a 113-113 draw.
“[Lopez] had me buzzed and shaken up in the seventh round, but I tried to stay on the outside away,” Thurman said afterward. “I was a little off in my prediction of how long his arms were. He lunged in and was really willing to commit to the knockout.
“He came right for me. I said you wouldn't see the best Keith Thurman tonight, but you'd still see a world class performance, and I gave you that tonight.”
The seventh was the closest “One Time” has ever come to losing a fight. It’s a credit to Thurman that he got through it. And a great credit to Lopez for making it happen.
Early on, it was all Thurman. In the second, a beautiful counter left hook sent Lopez crashing to the canvas. From there, Thurman cruised along, occasionally eating a hard shot but administering far more of his own.
Then came the seventh. This time, it was a Lopez left hook, followed by a straight right, stunning Thurman. From there, Thurman went into survival mode. Lopez was relentless, winning the eighth as his pressure-cooker style led to more hard shots on Thurman’s dome.
The champion showed his heart in the tenth, making Lopez miss and making him pay. The “Riverside Rocky” continued to come forward, but Thurman had regained control, landing the cleaner blows to win a tough but decisive decision in his first fight back in nearly two years.
"My hand took some contact tonight,” Thurman said of his injured left which, along with surgery on his right elbow, kept him sidelined. “Lopez had a tough head but we held out strong. I wish I had gone to the body more, because I saw him breathing heavy. Either way, I will be back later this year.
Adam Kownacki puts on a show versus Gerald Washington
From the outset, heavyweights Adam Kownacki and Gerald Washington went at each other like two clashing baby rhinos.
It didn’t last long. Though for the time that it did, it was exciting.
Kownacki ended a fun back-and-forth with a series of rights that dropped and ultimately put Washington away at 1:09 of the second round.
Not exactly body beautiful, Kownacki’s belly jiggled each time he threw a punch. But it’s boxing—not a bodybuilding contest. And one thing Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) can do is whack, to delight of his Polish kinsmen, who were well-represented at Barclays.
In the second, Kownacki slammed a right into the head of Washington, 19-3-1 (12 KOs), who fell into a heap in the corner. When he regained his footing, it looked like he was still out. More Kownacki power shots convinced referee Harvey Dock to step in.
“I trained hard for this fight,” Kownacki said. “I prepared for 10 hard rounds, but I’m glad I got it done and ended it as fast as I did. I want to thank my team, without them I wouldn't be where I'm at. I want that belt!”
“King Tug” shines on FS1
Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-0, 9 KOs) won a 12-round unanimous decision over Claudio Marrero (23-3, 17 KOs) in a WBC world featherweight title eliminator in the main event of the FS1 portion of PBC on Fox.
Judge Julie Lederman scored it 115-113, Eric Marlinski had it 115-112 and John Poturaj, 116-111.
It was the hardest challenge in the young career of “King Tug.” Marrero had his moments, alternating between boxing and stalking. But Nyambayar was busier, landing the cleaner punches and exhibiting better defense.
“We had a really good camp so this is just me putting the pressure and pace that we worked on in camp and using it in the ring,” said Nyambayar, after going 12 rounds for the first time in his career. “This sets me up for big fights. Whatever big fights are presented to us, we'll take it.”
After the second knockdown, @AntuanneRussell gets the W in the 2nd Round! pic.twitter.com/fccRNXkxtU— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) January 27, 2019
Antuanne Russell makes short work of Roberto Almazan
In the opening bout of the FS1 show, super lightweight Antuanne Russell (8-0, 8 KOs) scored two knockdowns off right hooks, stopping Roberto Almazan (7-9, 2 KOs) at :59 of the second round.
“I listened to my corner's directions and they told me that the hook was going to be there when he shot his left hand,” Russell said. “I went to my hook position and I was ready to catch and fire.”
Chris Colbert finishes the 5th round with a nice combo! #DulayColbert #PBConFS1 pic.twitter.com/BbfLH9Pj8W— PBC (@premierboxing) April 14, 2018
Chris Colbert wins unanimous decision over tough Joshuah Hernandez
Chris Colbert likes to make a statement in and out of the ring. The flamboyantly decorated super featherweight wore fluorescent pink hair and a silk white bathrobe with the fur collar to the ring, as if he just walked out of a shampoo commercial.
He was all business in the ring against Joshuah Hernandez (8-2, 7 KOs). Colbert, the Brooklyn-based fighter known as “Little B-Hop,” showed an array of skills in winning an eight-round unanimous decision.
“He put up a great fight,” Colbert, 10-0 (3 KOs), said about Hernandez. “Today I decided not to give the crowd a boxing lesson, I decided I wanted to show them that I can stand and fight with anybody if I choose to. We're going to keep making these fights easier and easier.”
On the undercard, super middleweight Mycheal Teal (2-0, 2 KOs) needed just 30 seconds to stop Jacob Landin (0-3). In a scheduled four-round cruiserweight bout, William Deets 7-12 (3 KOs) stunned previously undefeated Marsellos Wilder, 3-1 (2 KOs), scoring a TKO at 2:35 of the fourth. In a four-round welterweight bout, Tyrek Irby upped his record to 6-0 (2 KOs) with a decision victory over Jon Figueroa (2-2, 1 KO).
Middleweight Mark Duncan (3-0, 2 KOs) defeated Daniel G. Flores (0-3) via four-round decision, and Philadelphia featherweight Stephen Fulton (15-0, 6 KOs) remained undefeated after an eight-round decision over Marlon Olea (13-4, 12 KOs).
In an eight-round middleweight contest, Chordale Booker moved to 13-0 (7 KOs) by winning a decision over Juan De’Angel (21-10, 19 KOs).
For a closer look at Thurman vs Lopez, check out at our fight page.