Unified 147-pound world champion Keith Thurman is recovering from surgery on his right elbow and expects to be out of action until the end of 2017.
Thurman, who already possessed one world title, defeated fellow champion Danny Garcia at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on March 4 to become a unified 147-pound world titleholder. The Clearwater, Florida, native fought through severe pain in his right elbow, however, to secure the 12-round unanimous decision.
A few weeks later, he traveled to New York to have surgery to remove calcium deposits in his right elbow. The surgery was performed by Dr. Riley Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on April 19.
The surgery was successful and Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) is currently undergoing rehabilitation on his arm. The doctors have told him he will need six months to recover.
“I had loose bodies in the elbow, similar to what baseball pitchers have. They had to go in and take out the loose bodies and calcium deposits,’’ Thurman said. “It was getting in the way of the hinging of the elbow and when I threw a punch. It was causing pain and inflammation. I noticed it before the Danny Garcia fight.
“There was no way to get rid of it without the surgery. I’m healing and getting the function back so that I can be pain free.’’
Thurman described the healing process as slow and frustrating.
“One thing for sure, the doctor doesn’t want me to rush back into action,’’ he said. “You can’t jump back into the race too soon. It might start to feel good after a month or two, but you don’t want to rush it.
“My right elbow’s job is to launch punches like a missile, like I’m Mike Tyson at 147 pounds. It might feel good, but it might not be able to sustain that. It might cause inflammation to develop, and then you have to wait to let it calm down and feel better. I figure a four-month recovery will be quick. The doctor recommended six months of no action before training. I won’t rush it.”
“ You can’t jump back into the race too soon. It might start to feel good after a month or two, but you don’t want to rush it. ” 147-pound world champion Keith Thurman, on recovering from elbow surgery
Thurman has a special message to his fans who want to see him back in the ring as soon as possible.
“I worked hard to be where I am. We’re excited to move forward. This is just the real struggle of an athlete,’’ he said. “It’s not always picture perfect. It happens in every sport and that’s because we demand a lot from our bodies and ourselves. It has repercussions. Cars break down. We get them fixed and put them back on the road. We’re looking forward to getting back into the ring and giving you another fight before the year is out.’’
In the meantime, Thurman will be closely watching the May 27 world title showdown between British champion Kell Brook and unbeaten American southpaw Errol Spence Jr. in Sheffield, England (Showtime, 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT).
“I’ll be tuning in and looking forward to the belt coming back to America and looking forward to seeing what Kell Brook has to offer at 147 pounds,” Thurman said. “I want to see if he wants to make his stand at 147. I like the idea of Spence showing everybody he’s ‘The Truth’ and Kell trying to show everybody how ‘Special’ he is.”