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Boxing | International

Keith Thurman © Getty Images

Keith Thurman returns to action after 22 months

WBA “super” welterweight champion Keith Thurman from Clearwater, Florida returns to action after an absence of 22 months from the ring, to defend his belt against Joesito Lopez of Riverside, California at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old Thurman who has a record of 28-0; 22 was out of the ring because of physical injuries and personal problems.

One of the most outstanding fighters in the welterweight division he won the interim WBA welterweight belt in July 2013 with a tenth round knockout over Diego Gabriel Chaves and made successful defences of the interim belt against Jesus Soto Karass (tko 9), Julio Diaz (rtd 3), Leonard Bundu (pts 12) before being elevated to full champion.

He then made successful defences of the belt against Robert Guerrero (pts 12), Luis Collazo (rtd 7), Shawn Porter (pts 12) and Danny Garcia (sd 12) before being elevated to “super” champion.

Lopez, 34, who is rated at No 7 by the WBA has a record of 36-7; 19 made his pro debut in February 2003.

In September 2012 he was stopped in five rounds by Saul Alvarez in a challenge for the WBC junior-middleweight belt.

Lopez is a solid professional and has been in the ring with some top fighters in the division.

His best win came against former world champion Victor Ortiz on June 23, 2012 and is on a three-fight winning streak.

However, he has lost to better class opponents like Jessie Vargas (sd 10), Marcos Maidana (tko 6) and Andre Berto (tko 6).

Lopez is a good comeback opponent for Thurman but the odds are in favour of the champion who could win inside the distance.

The other main organisation champions are WBA “regular”, Manny Pacquiao, WBC, Shawn Porter, IBF, Errol Spence and WBO Terence Crawford.


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