WBA welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman has labelled his June 25 clash with Shawn Porter the most important of his career as the American aims to cement his place as a major player in the division.
The 27 year-old makes the third defense of his full title, having held the interim belt for two years from March 2013, and looks to build on his victories over Robert Guerrero and Luis Collazo against the former IBF title holder.
“This isn’t just the biggest fight of my career. But it’s the most anticipated fight of my career. Sometimes it pays to add some drama to the game. It wasn’t our intention, but I think it worked out,” said Thurman.
“Barclays Center makes this a big fight. We get to promote here in New York City. New York is a fight town. My favorite fighter of all time, Mike Tyson, is from Brooklyn. This just happened to work out for the best.”
Plenty of 147 pound contenders have been linked to a clash with the winner of Thurman v Porter, with the likes of Errol Spence, Kell Brook, Jessie Vargas and Danny Garcia having a vested interest in the summer encounter.
“I anticipate most of the welterweight division being in attendance on June 25,” predicted Thurman.
“The situation that division is in right now is that we’re all in a frenzy. Everyone wants the spotlight and everyone wants to be the top dog. We all have that opportunity.
“I want to have two titles by the end of this year. People talk about replacing Floyd Mayweather, but you can’t become the man without beating all the people in front of you.
“One fight at a time. I want to stay at the top by grabbing another belt. I’m going to show that I’m the big dog at 147 pounds.”
In a previous interview with WBN, Thurman spoke about his friendship with ‘Showtime’ and how they go way back to their days on the US boxing team, although the hard-hitting champion has no problem putting his bond with Porter aside for one night.
“June 25, my friend is about to become my enemy. I’m going to treat him like any other enemy,” he added.