WBA welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman prepares for another defense of his title this weekend knowing victory could set up a massive unification and a further step towards greatness.
The 27 year-old, who is undefeated in 26 fights, admits that he came into the sport with an attitude as a brash 18-year-old puncher in the past, but hopes that his recent actions prove he is now more of a role model to the younger bucks coming through.
Thurman faces old training partner ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night and says his confidence is growing with every championship fight he participates in.
“I feel I’ve grown into being a champion, you know. The way I fight, people can always talk about it,” Thurman exclusively told World Boxing News in a recent phone interview.
“Boxing is a sport where you can watch the greatest fighters in the world, but you are always going to get that criticism. I don’t think any other sport is as criticising as boxing.
“It took a while, but I have this new persona. This new feeling about me and being champion. It’s pretty much that I have this new confidence.
“Back in the day, I always used to want to talk a lot of smack. But now, I don’t want to talk a lot of smack, it’s other people who want to talk smack about me now because I am champion and do have a title. Before it used to be, ‘who’s Keith Thurman and what does Keith Thurman bring to the table? – He’s not even worth fighting.
“Those were the arguments once upon a time, but they cannot bring those arguments up today. I am the WBA welterweight champion of the world. I’ve worked so hard to be where I am today.
“I’ve been in the sport of boxing for twenty years now, and I tell myself this almost daily. It’s those twenty years of confidence, waking up training every day and I know what Keith Thurman has to offer boxing.
“When I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old, my old trainer Ben Getty knew what I had to offer and he told me I was going to be a world champion. I am a world champion today. It’s a blessing and I count my blessings, but I work hard and I stay dedicated so we can really just enjoy this ride to hopefully become one of the best welterweights that ever existed,” he added.