Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Manny Pacquiao to fight Keith Thurman in return to ring this summer

Filipino star to take on undefeated Thurman on July 20 in United States, although no venue has been announced as yet

Manny Pacquiao, coming off a victory against American Adrien Broner in January, will take on the undefeated Keith Thurman on July 20. John Locher / AP Photo
Manny Pacquiao, coming off a victory against American Adrien Broner in January, will take on the undefeated Keith Thurman on July 20. John Locher / AP Photo

Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring this summer after finally confirming his much-expected welterweight title unification bout with Keith Thurman.

The Filipino star, coming off a comprehensive victory against American Adrien Broner in January, will take on the undefeated Thurman on July 20 in the United States. No venue has been announced as yet, although it is anticipated the fight will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

A bout between the two has been mooted for years, and forms part of the deal Pacquiao signed last year with Premier Boxing Champions. Following the Broner clash – the 70th fight of his career – Pacquiao’s record stands at 61-7-2 with 39 knockouts, while Thurman is 29-0 with 22 knockouts. However, the American has not stopped anyone in almost four years.

Thurman, 30, last fought in January, too, when he ended a near two-year hiatus with a unanimous decision win against Joselito Lopez to retain the WBA crown. Both he and Pacquiao hold a version of the WBA championship: Thurman the WBA “super” welterweight title and Pacquiao the WBA “world” welterweight crown.

Keith Thurman last fought in January when he ended a near two-year hiatus with a win against Joselito Lopez to retain the WBA crown. John Locher / AP Photo
Keith Thurman last fought in January when he ended a near two-year hiatus with a win against Joselito Lopez to retain the WBA crown. John Locher / AP Photo

Pacquiao, a senator in the Philippines, captured the belt last July, when he recorded a seventh-round TKO against Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - his first knockout victory in almost nine years.

Thurman, meanwhile, appears to have recovered from a 22-month lay-off caused initially by elbow surgery following his split-decision defeat of Danny Garcia in 2017. A hand injury then extended his time on the sidelines. He returned in January as the overwhelming favourite to beat Lopez by majority decision, although Thurman was hurt badly at one point in Brooklyn.

The winner of the July 20 fight could go on to face either Errol Spence Jr or Shawn Porter, the IBF champion and WBC champion respectively, who are expected to meet later in the summer in another unification bout.

Updated: May 13, 2019 10:43 AM

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