Unified welterweight world titleholder Keith Thurman announced Friday that he had successful surgery on his right elbow and will be out of action for at least six months.
On March 4, Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) won a split decision against Danny Garcia in a much-anticipated title unification fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Thurman, 28, of Clearwater, Florida, said he fought through severe pain in his right elbow during the fight.
Dr. Riley Williams performed the surgery on April 19 at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan and removed calcium deposits from the elbow.
"I had loose bodies in the elbow, similar to what baseball pitchers have," said Thurman, who is undergoing rehabilitation on his arm. "They had to go in and take out the loose bodies and calcium deposits. 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 said his doctor told him to rest the elbow for six months.
"One thing for sure, the doctor doesn't want me to rush back into action," Thurman 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. 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.''
Thurman said he hopes to be able to fight late this year, although he might have to wait until early 2018. He is philosophical about the situation.
"I worked hard to be where I am. We're excited to move forward. This is just the real struggle of an athlete,'' Thurman 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.''
The ideal match for him would be a further unification bout against the winner of the fight between titleholder Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) and American mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs), who meet May 27 (Showtime) at Bramall Lane, an outdoor soccer stadium in Brook's hometown of Sheffield, England.
"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. 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," Thurman said, referring to their nicknames.