8-0 with eight first round knockouts. Olympic Trials silver medalist as a welterweight. Sparred and held his own with the likes of Korobov, Lacy, Dawson, Wright. Just 20 years old. How do those credentials sound? Yeah, Keith Thurman Jr. looks to be a young man on his way to a bright future. Not only is a heckuva boxer, I found him to be a a very intelligent and thoughtful gentleman. Meet one of America’s finest young professional athletes Keith Thurman Jr. …
Record: 8-0 with 8 KO’s.
Hometown: Clearwater, FL
Weight class: Welterweight
BoxingInsider: Boxing Heroes?
Keith Thurman: “As a child I never really boxed. Through time and getting into it, Mike Tyson has to be one of my greatest all time fighters. Muhammad Ali. I like going back looking at the classics like Roberto Duran. I like the old time fighters, when you had a champion in the old days you really had a true champion. Muhammad Ali would take on anybody. You had the greats fighting everybody.”
BoxingInsider: First Boxing Memory?
Keith Thurman “Would have to be when I was first introduced into boxing which was when I was seven years old. At the school cafeteria there was a boxing exhibition held by my trainer (Ben Gettys). He said there was sign-up sheets on the table in the back and I decided to sign up. I took the papers, put it in my backpack, took it home. Told my mom I wanted to box. Been boxing ever since.”
BoxingInsider: Greatest Boxing Moment?
Keith Thurman: “The greatest boxing moment so far…so far the biggest accomplishment I give myself is getting the silver in the Olympic Trials. Even though it’s kind of a defeat. Not too many people make it that far. I do see it as an accomplishment and one of my greatest.”
BoxingInsider: Most Painful Moment?
Keith Thurman: “I don’t know, I’m not really sure about that one. There were a few times in tournaments, I had some, maybe, emotional things going on back at home. When it comes to boxing I find a way to clear my mind. When it comes to boxing you have to fight. Clear your mind and fight. You can’t really think of outside things when you’re in the ring.”
BoxingInsider: Describe Your Style?
Keith Thurman: “I would say my style is counterpunching. Boxer/puncher. But I definitely look for a way to counter at all times. Depending on the fight you might see a little change of style.”
BoxingInsider: How do you explain all the first round knockouts?
Keith Thurman: “What I try to do is find a weakness in my opponent. A way that I can hit you. One good, clean shot. Try to time it. If I can get it and the shot is there, if I find that shot in the first round and they go down, they go down. I’m prepared for anything, not just to get first round knockouts. If they’re there, I’m not gonna resist to take them.”
BoxingInsider: What do you need to improve to reach the next level ?
Keith Thurman: “I would say we gotta get the rounds in. That, to me, thus far, is one of the big things to become a pro, a top pro. You have to be able to go 12 rounds, title match. A lot of amateurs are great amateurs but they just don’t quite cut it in the pros. It takes a little more in the pros, to get over that hump. To go to the eight, ten rounds. You just gotta train harder and come prepared. I don’t think I’m gonna have a problem with that. We’re not gonna rush anything in my career. I believe I will be ready with what my coach has me doing. Even though all my fights have ended in the first round, I’ve been in condition to go the 12.”
BoxingInsider: Is it true you dropped Berto?
Keith Thurman: “Dropped? No. I sparred him and did I? Trying to remember. It was years ago. The one that happened – I hurt him with a body shot. He might have felt that pain after the sparring – we got that phone call later. He was able to continue training for that fight. Obviously, the way his career is going, he was able to win that match.”
BoxingInsider: Who have you sparred with?
Keith Thurman: “Jeff Lacy. Chad Dawson – too many times. Winky Wright. Matt Korobov.”
BoxingInsider: Are you holding your own with these guys?
Keith Thurman: “Oh, definitely. Definitely. Some of these people I sparred when I was 14, 15, 16 years old. Every time I was definitely holding my own.”
BoxingInsider: How far do you feel from being ready for a title shot?
Keith Thurman: “It would be better to ask me that question at the end of ’09. I’m getting ready for my first fight in ’09 (in March). Depends on how far we go at the end of ’09. It might just be another year, year and a half away from the end of ’09 the way things are going. It’s definitely going to take one year. It could be anywhere from two and half years to one and a half. It depends on how I do, how my manager and promoter work at it, get some good fights. Call out a big name, take him down. Step up in the rankings, we’ll be ready. I really don’t know how long it will take to get up in the top 10.”
BoxingInsider: Who was the first famous boxer you met?
Keith Thurman: “Tarver. Antonio Tarver. I met him when I was nine. In Clearwater, he came to our gym to work with someone. I sparred with a 16-year-old female, they took pictures with me and her and me and Antonio Tarver. I still have those pictures.”
BoxingInsider: Your boxing inspiration?
Keith Thurman: “To one day become world champion, to go as far as I can go and see where it takes me.”