Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Injured Thurman targets 2020 return and Pacquiao rematch, Joyce ordered to face Huck for European title

Joe Joyce
Keith Thurman wants to share a ring with Manny Pacquiao for a second time, and Joe Joyce must defeat Marco Huck to become European heavyweight champion

Injury-plagued welterweight Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman remains optimistic about his future despite a defeat to Manny Pacquiao in July and yet another injury.

The former WBA welterweight champion is currently nursing a hand problem which he expects will keep him out of the ring for between eight or nine months. Once back, though, he says he is gunning for his old title and the only man to have beaten him so far as a professional.

“June probably; late May or June,” Thurman told FightHype.com when asked when he’ll be returning to the ring. “I just want to be back in the ring. It could be anybody. You know what I want? I want that rematch (against Manny Pacquiao). That’s what I want. We’ll have to see what happens.”

Given it happened only in July, and wasn’t exactly controversial, demand for a Pacquiao vs. Thurman rematch will probably be minimal. Pacquiao, in fact, has other fights mooted for early next year, one of which, a fight against Mikey Garcia, makes complete sense to Thurman.

“I think that’s not a bad opponent for Manny Pacquiao,” said Thurman, 29-1 (22).

“He’s got to tread lightly among this welterweight division. There’s a lot of dog fights in this division.

“Even though he stepped away with my belt, it’s okay. He knows he was in a dog fight, and he wants more young dogs like Shawn Porter, Errol Spence, and the Keith Thurman rematch.

“I think every single one of those guys would be a danger. Mikey Garcia might be the least dangerous and still the most respectable opponent. Still young, strong and hungry. So we’ll see.”

Should Thurman get his wish and again share a ring with Pacquiao, there are plenty of things he would do differently. Not getting dropped in the first round will be something he looks to avoid next time, but there are less obvious alterations to make as well.

“Maybe utilise a little bit more of my movement and some of my counters,” said Thurman. “He didn’t like my boxing and head movement. There were certain things that frustrated him. There were openings that I didn’t take advantage of in the moment.

“If I had a second chance, I wouldn’t hesitate. There would also be some uppercuts.”

At this point Thurman’s biggest opponent is his own body. It kept him out of the ring for most of 2017 and for the whole of 2018 and now 2020 isn’t looking like the most productive of years.

Until he conquers that, it’s hard to see him keeping the pace with the likes of Pacquiao, Spence and Crawford.

Thurman fell short against Pacquiao in July (Stephanie Trapp/TGB)

After Agit Kabayel recently announced he had signed with Top Rank and decided to relinquish the European heavyweight title, we wondered who would get the nod to face Joe Joyce for the vacant belt.

Now we know.

Should Joyce pursue the European title he will have to fight former world cruiserweight champion Marc Huck on the say-so of the European Boxing Union (EBU).

According to the EBU, purse bids for Joyce vs. Huck have been ordered for October 10 if a deal cannot be reached between the two fighters.

Joyce, 34, is undefeated in 10 pro fights so far and has shown no hesitation when asked to step up in class and take a risk. Last time out he went the full 12 rounds with Bryan Jennings, a former world heavyweight title challenger, and prevailed on the cards.

Huck, meanwhile, won the European cruiserweight title some 11 years ago and defended it three times. At cruiser, he also lifted a WBO title in 2009, beating Victor Emilio Ramirez via decision. He defended that belt a record 13 times.

During that title run, Huck, 41-5-1 (28), stepped up to heavyweight to face then-WBA champion Alexander Povetkin in 2012 and gave the Russian all he could handle, losing narrowly on points after 12 rounds. He then returned to heavyweight last year with a fourth-round stoppage win against Yakup Saglam.

Unbelievably, Huck, too, is 34 years of age.

Marco Huck vs Ola Afolabi fight time
Huck is back at heavyweight (Action Images)

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  • Thurman’s repeated injuries and subsequent inactivity will make it very hard for him to get back to the very top – his best days may now be behind him.

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