Keith Thurman Turns On, Tunes In, and Drops Out

By Paul Magno on July 6, 2018
Keith Thurman Turns On, Tunes In, and Drops Out
“I never thought it would happen, but it just did. After our first date she stole my heart."

In recent videos and photos, Thurman has never looked happier—and, at the same time, never so far away from being in fighter mode…

Try to wrangle an answer about Keith Thurman’s return to the ring and all you’ll get from Team Thurman is a vague statement about August, maybe September, against TBA. Reports are that Thurman is in Japan, training—maybe, possibly.

What we do know, though, is the official story.

Thurman injured his elbow in his bout with Danny Garcia in March of last year and underwent surgery that put him on the shelf the rest of the year. Scheduled to return in May of this year, he would pull out almost immediately after being added to the Showtime schedule, claiming a hand injury. A few weeks later, he was ordered to defend his WBC welterweight title against Shawn Porter, but rather than revisit his hard-fought win over Porter, he opted to vacate the title. Since then, his actual fight career has been more rumors and question marks than reality.

What we also know is that Thurman, going hand in hand with career events of the last two years or so, has also experienced a life-changing personal event. He fell in love.

Thurman met Priyana Thapa a few months after the Porter fight while the Nepalese beauty worked in a Tokyo nightclub owned by her father. It was love at first sight and a whirlwind romance began. Thurman spent as much time as he could in Tokyo, sharing time with Thapa and moving towards creating a more permanent relationship. He eventually proposed and then, shortly after decisioning Danny Garcia, flew back to Asia to meet her parents and formally ask for her hand.

“On our first date it was her birthday,” Thurman told USA Today. “And I said, ‘Allow me to celebrate your birthday with you.’ I just wanted her company, and I felt complete…it’s like a gift. I never thought it would happen, but it just did. After our first date she stole my heart.”

“If you give her one ounce of kindness, she gives you back four,” Thurman added in a piece posted by the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) website. “I love everything about her.”

On June 30 of last year, Thurman and Thapa got married in Kathmandu, Nepal in a traditional Nepalese wedding ceremony.

In recent videos and photos, Thurman has never looked happier—and, at the same time, never so far away from being in fighter mode.

The PBC publicity on Thurman has always painted him as some sort of savage poet, described on the company website as “equal parts force and finesse.” He’s a guy who, before he beats you up, plays with his Chihuahuas, Liberty and Nova, then goes and plays flute on a hill by a lake with birds floating by him majestically before weeping openly in a barbershop while getting his hair braided. All hype has some basis in reality, so it’s not a stretch to say that Thurman is, maybe, a different breed of prizefighter.

To extend this line of thought a bit further, it’s quite possible that this man with an overflowing heart and joyous soul is increasingly less interested in the nasty and brutal world of big-time boxing.

Just juxtapose his June, 2016 all-out war with Shawn Porter against his March, 2017 effort against Danny Garcia. Against Porter, he fought viciously like a man set out to prove something. Against Garcia, he fought cautiously like a man who now had something to lose.

Maybe finding love and preparing for a family has taken the fight out of the man. Maybe this assumption is way off. But Thurman would not be the first fighter to lose his fire and drive after life became too happy, too comfortable. Time will tell whether Thurman’s absence from the ring is ONLY about injury or whether the love of a woman, who Thurman admits is not at all fond of him fighting, has nudged him away from a life of high-risk combat.

In the meantime, the jokes will be made. “One Time” Thurman is called “Some Time” Thurman in some circles. People will laugh about him wanting nothing to do with Errol Spence or Terence Crawford, about running scared, all the way to the hills of Nepal. But where’s the joke in falling madly in love and living a happy, peaceful life away from the ring? If anything, Thurman has gotten the better end of the deal.

Then again, people are reading here, not If anything, fans would like to see some closure to Thurman’s half-fulfilled promise—come back to reclaim his throne or permanently abdicate.

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  1. Your Name 09:26am, 07/08/2018

    This what life is all about!  GOOD for HIM and fook the selfish bastards that begrudge him a life.

  2. Koolz 04:23pm, 07/07/2018

    Hey Good for Thurman!!!

  3. Kid Blast 10:40am, 07/07/2018

    I’m getting mighty sick of seeing that photo every time I go to Can we just move on?

  4. Casanovita de Ahome 08:07am, 07/06/2018

    @Lucas McCain-More like Frank Capra’s “Shangri-La”.

  5. peter 07:17am, 07/06/2018

    Goodbye Thurman.

  6. snowflake 07:12am, 07/06/2018

    He still has the best and most relevant resume at 147. Spence has beaten one guy and Crawford’s is full of guys who promptly washed out after he beat them (not his fault of course). I’d give both those guys the edge over Thurman but he’s not a gimme for anyone whereas I don’t give Garcia/Porter/Pac much of a chance against the top tier.

    I’ve been as annoyed by the belt shenanigans as anyone but I hope he comes back, the division is more interesting with him in it. Just hope there won’t be a million tuneups before he gets in with someone real

  7. Lucas McCain 06:54am, 07/06/2018

    Casanovita—Ronald Colman?  Because of the suave ‘stache?  I hope you aren’t thinking of “A Double Life.”  Too grim!!

  8. Pete The Sneak 04:12am, 07/06/2018

    Good for Thurman. Let the man enjoy this special time in his life. If he returns to the ring, great. If not, I hope he’s made enough money and/or has other business interests for him not to have to if the new Mrs. Thurman says no more fighting; Or Maybe this will be a repeat of Rocky II (“I’m a fighter, that’s all I know.”)...My guess? Once the Honeymoon is over, he’ll lace up again….Peace.

  9. Casanovita de Ahome 06:47pm, 07/05/2018

    He’s no Ronald Colman….he’ll be back.

  10. Kid Blast 02:17pm, 07/05/2018

    Another very good article Paul. You are on a roll. Why? Are you also in love?

  11. Kid Blast 02:01pm, 07/05/2018

    Thurman = diva

  12. Lucas McCain 01:12pm, 07/05/2018

    He was a boxer worth watching, but if I had a vote in this, it would be for
    “abdicate” party.  Being in the ring with Crawford or Spence is no place for a man in love.

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