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Thurman outpoints Lopez in return to the ring

Photos: Andy Samuelson / Premier Boxing Champions

Keith Thurman ended a nearly two-year hiatus (due to hand and shoulder injuries) on Saturday night to retain his WBA welterweight title against Josesito Lopez in the Premier Boxing Champions main event on FOX.

After a competitive first round, Thurman floored Lopez with a left hook in the second round during a heated exchange. In the fourth, Thurman hurt Lopez again with another left, as Lopez was swinging wildly.

As the fight progressed, however, Lopez began to settle down and began to crowd Thurman while being a bit more conservative with his punches.

A flurry from Lopez in the sixth, stunned Thurman, as he unloaded along the ropes. In the seventh, Lopez hurt Thurman with a left hook, and a straight right hand nearly sent him down.

Thurman managed to weather the storm and regained his bearings in the final rounds, outboxing Lopez down the stretch to earn the victory via majority decision with scores of 113-113, 115-111 and 117-109.

“My hand took some contact tonight,” said Thurman. “Lopez had a tough head but we held out strong. I said you wouldn’t see the best Keith Thurman tonight, but you’d still see a world-class performance, and I gave you that tonight.”

“He had me buzzed and shaken up in the seventh round, but I tried to stay on the outside,” Thurman added. “I was a little off in my prediction of how long his arms were. He lunged in and was really willing to commit to the knockout.”

“I definitely thought I held my own in that fight,” said Lopez. “I had him hurt in the seventh round and I was landing a lot of clean shots on him.” 

“I was disappointed I couldn’t finish him and get him out of there,” Lopez continued. “If he thinks he’s the best welterweight out there, then I want two through five lined up for me.”

In the co-main event,  Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) scored a second-round TKO over Gerald Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs). 

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