A bump in the road—literally—may have slowed down the Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter donnybrook, but you can’t keep a good fight down.
Thurman, working with a roadmap to recovery from the injury that sidelined him in February, is on track to take on Porter on June 25 in the first prime-time fight on CBS in decades.
A venue and starting time for the 147-pound title scrap, which was orginally scheduled for Saturday, are still to be determined.
“The way that I punch, it’s very difficult for any man to take 12 rounds of those kinds of punches,” Keith Thurman (26-0, 22 KOs) said. “If I’m landing five nice power punches a round, at the end of 10 rounds, that’s 50 power punches you had to endure from Keith 'One Time' Thurman. Ask any man who’s stepped in that ring, and it’s not something you want to eat all day.”
Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs), determined to stay busy, will fight an exhibition contest against Lanardo Tyner on Saturday at the Porter Hy-Performance Center in Las Vegas. The bout will be streamed live on the Premier Boxing Champions Facebook page.
“I’ve never wanted a fight this bad before,” Porter said of Thurman. “When you talk about prizefighting, you talk about the elite, this is it right here.
"My dad always taught me that I have to separate myself from other fighters, other people, other athletes. And what better way to separate myself than to beat Keith Thurman and really establish myself as the top professional boxer at 147 pounds?”
The co-main of that Thurman-Porter event still features former three-division champ Abner Mares (29-2-1, 15 KOs), but now he’ll be challenging 126-pound champion Jesus Cuellar (28-1, 21 KOs) in what promises to be a barnburner.
The June 25 card may be the pinnacle of what’s shaping up as a stacked spring and summer of fisticuffs.
On April 9, Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) will make the first defense of his heavyweight title against British big man Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London (Showtime, start time TBA). Also on that card, U.K. favorite Lee Selby (22-1, 8 KOs) will defend his 126-pound title against Philadelphia native Eric Hunter (21-3, 11 KOs).
A week later, Gary Russell Jr. (26-1, 15 KOs)—who was originally slated to fight on Saturday's Thurman-Porter card—will put his own 126-pound title on the line against Ireland's Patrick Hyland (31-1, 15 KOs) from the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut (Showtime, 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT). Preceding that bout will be a 130-pound title clash between Jose Pedraza (21-0, 12 KOs) and Stephen Smith (23-1, 13 KOs).
On April 30, Badou Jack (21-1, 12 KOs) makes the second defense of the 168-pound title he won from Anthony Dirrell when he faces Lucian Bute (32-3, 25 KOs), who will be looking to bounce back from his November loss to James DeGale (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) won his title over Anthony's brother, Andre. And prior to the Jack-Bute clash, he will put that title on the line against Rogelio Medina (36-6, 30 KOs), who is replacing an injured Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., in the co-main event at a to-be-determined venue. The winners of the Jack-Bute and DeGale-Medina fights will then meet in a title unification bout.
Then in May, heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) is expected to travel to Russia for his fourth title defense, looking to hold off mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs). Exact time, date and venue are expected to be finalized soon.
Finally, the 126-pound division will take center stage in late summer when Carl Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs) makes his debut at that weight—and he’s jumping in with both feet. Frampton, who just two weeks ago won the fight of his career over U.K. rival Scott Quigg in a 122-pound title unification bout, will face 126-pound champion Leo Santa Cruz (32-0-1, 18 KOs) in a battle of unbeaten fighters.