Welterweight Keith Thurman is primed for his chance “to headline a show like this against a former world champion,” which he will do against Julio Diaz on April 26 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
“To headline a show like this against a former world champion is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Thurman, a 25-year-old from Clearwater, Fla., “and that day is here.”
Thurman-Diaz is the main event of a Showtime tripleheader supported by THE RING’s number one-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse opposite rugged lightweight puncher John Molina and WBC lightweight titleholder Omar Figueroa Jr. against former amateur nemesis Jerry Belmontes, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer officially announced on Wednesday.
In his last fight, Thurman (22-0, 20 knockouts) scored knockdowns in the fifth and final rounds of a ninth-round technical stoppage victory over Jesus Soto Karass in December.
In his previous bout, last July, Thurman scored a 10th-round knockout of previously unbeaten Argentine Diego Chaves, whom he dropped once each in the ninth and final rounds.
“I respect Julio Diaz and I will not underestimate him,” said Thurman, a boxer-puncher nicknamed “One Time.” “He knows that this may be his last shot and I expect the best from him but I’ll be the one leaving with the victory.”
Although Diaz (40-9-1, 29 KOs) is 0-2-1 in his past three fights, those bouts were a draw and a unanimous decision loss against unbeaten current IBF beltholder Shawn Porter and a close decision setback to former titleholder Amir Khan.
In succession, Diaz drew with Porter in December 2012, floored Khan in the fourth round in April of last year and was outpointed in December by Porter, whose next bout was a unanimous decision that dethroned Devon Alexander in December.
A former lightweight titlist, Diaz has been training alongside WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley, who has a rematch with Manny Pacquiao on April 12. More