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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

One Time comes to Carson

This Saturday at the StubHub Center in California, USA, Keith Thurman will aim to move one step closer to a legitimate world title shot when he takes on Julio Diaz in defence of the WBA Interim welterweight title.


Thurman, known as 'One Time', is unbeaten in 22 fights and he has only heard the final bell on two occasions. The American really made a name for himself in 2013, by defeating some quality opposition.

First he took on the former IBF champion, Jan Zaveck. The Slovenian veteran isn't an elite level fighter, but he is certainly a solid opponent and a good step up from the guys that Thurman had previously become accustomed to facing. 


The bout itself was an eliminator for the WBO welterweight title, which was held by Timothy Bradley at the time.

The 25-year-old dominated the fight from start to finish and was awarded a unanimous decision victory, with all three judges scoring the bout 120-108 in his favour.

He was then first in line to meet the aforementioned Timothy Bradley for the WBO strap. However, the boxing cold-war between Golden Boy and Top Rank once again prevented a big fight from taking place.

Thurman then turned his attention to the WBA crown, which at the time was held by the precocious three-weight world champion, Adrien Broner.

Eager to claim a world title, he took on Diego Gabriel Chaves for the WBA Interim title. Chaves was also unbeaten, so the loser of this bout would leave the ring with the first blemish on their perfect record.


Thurman dropped the Argentine twice en route to a tenth round knockout victory. He dropped him once in the ninth and once in the tenth, both times with bodyshots. Chaves, who reportedly suffered broken ribs, simply couldn't get up. 

Having claimed the WBA's Interim bauble at 147lbs, he took on arguably his toughest test to date – the very game and experienced Mexican, Jesus Soto Karass, who was coming off the best win of his career against former WBC and IBF champion, Andre Berto.

The champion showed why he is considered as a serious contender in the most talent packed division, with a sublime performance against the dangerous and wholehearted Karass. 


However, he did have to overcome adversity early on in the fight, as he was staggered by a hard right hand from Karass. Nevertheless, he showed the heart of a true champion, gritted his teeth and waited for the storm to settle.

The Floridian was in total control from that point onwards, as he methodically out-boxed and beat up the older man. Thurman scored his first knockdown in the fifth round and then finished him off in the ninth, after he wobbled the Mexican with a few solid blows to the skull.

Now he takes on another Mexican in Julio Diaz.

Diaz, 34, has fought some of the best boxers in the sport. He has taken on the likes of Angel Manfredy, Jose Luis Castillo and Juan Diaz.

In his last three outings, he has lost two and drawn one. The draw came against current IBF ruler, Shawn Porter. However, when the pair met again nine months later, Porter walked away victorious.

Although he suffered another loss when he came over the UK to take on the former unified light welterweight champion, Amir Khan, he did surprise a few people. It was expected to be an easy nights work for Khan, but Diaz didn't just show up to take a beating and a pay-day. Instead, he gave it his all and made things very awkward for Khan. He scored a knockdown in the fourth and also hurt him on numerous occasions.


All three judges favoured the home fighter, but the Mexican walked away from the ring with his head held high because he had put in a fantastic performance against a world class operator.

Now Diaz faces the nightmare task of taming Keith Thurman.

I am expecting Thurman to out-box Diaz early on and then start to apply the pressure in the middle rounds. 

I think the fight will finish in the eighth with the challenger failing to beat the count after being dropped twice in the same round.

Thurman should retain his title and look ahead to a big fight later this year, possibly against Porter - providing 'Showtime' is successful against his mandatory challenger, Kell Brook. That fight has to happen before July 19th, or Porter risks being stripped of the title.