For nearly two years, the question surrounding Keith Thurman would be when will he return to the ring.
In a press event organized by PBC and FOX in Los Angeles, the boxing world got that answer as it announced Thurman will fight in early 2019. Thurman, the WBA’s “super” welterweight champion, will fight Josesito Lopez in the main event of a PBC card that will be televised on FOX.
The card will take place on January 26, 2019 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the same venue where Thurman last fought back in early 2017. Thurman defeated Danny Garcia to unify the WBA and WBC welterweight titles in March 2017, but has been sidelined with a multitude of injuries.
After the win over Garcia, Thurman underwent elbow surgery that kept him sidelined for the remainder of 2017. Thurman was supposed to fight in May 2018, but he suffered a wrist injury that further delayed his return. No opponent had been announced for a return at that time, but for many months, Thurman had indicated that he would not be fighting a top contender in his in-ring return as he looks to shake off the ring rust.
Lopez, a 34-year-old fighter from California, has boxed from lightweight all the way up to junior middleweight throughout his career. Lopez unsuccessfully challenged for the WBC junior middleweight title in 2012, but was stopped by Canelo Alvarez late in the fifth round of their fight. Lopez, ranked No. 7 by the WBA at 147 pounds, is riding a three-fight win streak since a 2015 loss to Andre Berto in an interim WBA welterweight title fight.
Another fight announced for that January 26 card is a heavyweight bout between contender Adam Kownacki and former world title challenger Gerald Washington.