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Thurman: I truly love the sport of boxing

Former unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman says despite two-and-a-half years of inactivity, his passion for boxing has not dwindled.

Thurman was last in action in July 2019, losing his WBA welterweight title to ring legend Manny Pacquiao via split decision in Las Vegas.

‘One Time’ now has his ring returned pencilled in for February 5, with former Gervonta Davis foe Mario Barrios (26-1) set as Thurman’s opponent.

“It’s not ideal to have a layoff like I had, but you just have to roll with things in life,” Said Thurman. “I’ve spent a lot of time meditating and prioritising different things. Now the date is set and I can’t wait to get back in action. I truly love this sport.

“I was given a few options for opponents, and once I heard Barrios had interest in it, I knew that he was coming off an exciting fight and that I wanted to make it happen. Once Barrios was on the menu, I was ready to take him.

“There’s always pressure to be great. That pressure makes diamonds. Fighters like me and like Barrios, we want to shine. We take that pressure and everything coming our way. That’s the path of the warrior. There’s so much beauty in it. Our hearts pump better when we take those challenges head on.

“There’s no test better than a Keith Thurman test. You don’t step to Keith Thurman if you don’t want to make a name for yourself at 147. We have two fighters coming off of losses, which means we both have to prove ourselves. The time is now. Talk about the past if you want, but February 5, new stories will be created.

“In 2019, I fought Manny Pacquiao because that was the most exciting thing I could do then. Once I’m comfortable in this return, I’m coming for greatness. We know we’ve fallen from the ladder and we’re looking up. That’s okay, because we’re going to take it one step at a time to get back to where we were, in the top spot of the welterweight division.

“The fire has been burning inside me my whole life. It doesn’t matter what we’re competing in. When you’re in this sport, you’re in it to win. You have to be. That competitiveness is natural for me. No matter how long I’m off, I’m thinking about boxing.

“I’m here to prove that I’m not the kind of fighter that you can write off. The cream is going to rise to the top. I might have fallen, but you best believe I’m going to rise again. This year is about doing what I have to do to be at the pinnacle of the division.”