Keith Thurman vacates WBC title, Garcia-Porter to fight for belt

Unified welterweight world titleholder Keith Thurman has vacated the WBC's 147-pound belt as he continues to recover from a hand injury he suffered in March.

"Due to my rehabilitation from my injuries, I agreed to relinquish my WBC title at this time. I continue to rehab my hand and elbow, and I look forward to getting back in the ring this summer. This is a temporary setback, and I will be the unified champion once again and look forward to winning back my WBC title as soon as possible, Thurman said in a statement.

"Keith Thurman unfortunately has suffered two consecutive injuries that have kept him out of the ring after his sensational victory over Danny Garcia, and he has graciously relinquished his title, and the WBC has mandated that Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter will fight for the title," said Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the WBC.

"Keith will have a direct path to fight for the title once he has healed just as Vitali Klitschko and other WBC champions have done in the past. Keith is a tremendous athlete, champion, and role model. The WBC will support him completely during this difficult time."

Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs), 30, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a former unified champion at 140 pounds and the former WBC welterweight champion, suffered his first professional defeat to Thurman by split decision in March 2017, and lost the WBC title.

Following an 11-month layoff, the longest of his career, Garcia returned in February, knocking out former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios in Las Vegas in a Showtime-televised WBC world title eliminator

Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs), a former welterweight champion, lost by unanimous decision to Thurman in June 2016. He became the mandatory challenger for the WBC title when he stopped former world champion Andre Berto last year. Porter is not yet scheduled to fight in 2018, but is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Adrian Granados last November.

The 29-year-old Thurman (28-0, 22 KO's), of Clearwater, Florida, has been plagued by a string of injuries the last two years.

Thurman injured his neck in a car accident in February 2016, which delayed his match against Porter by three months. When they met Thurman defeated Porter by unanimous decision on June 25.

A month after his victory over Garcia, he underwent major surgery on his right elbow to remove bone spurs and calcium deposits. He is still in rehabilitation from that operation.

Thurman injured his hand hitting the heavy bag last month and aggravated the injury sparring with some amateurs at his gym in St. Petersburg, Florida. An MRI revealed bruises to the metacarpal bones in the hand, which also has extensive swelling. Thurman was ordered to rest his hand for approximately eight weeks, which added another delay to his ring return.

Thurman, who will remain the WBA super champion, hopes to return to the ring in the late summer or early fall.

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