Born on November 23, 1988 in Clearwater, Florida, Keith Thurman is known for his vicious punching power and his flamboyant personality. He has boxed for most of his life, first trained by Benjamin Getty, who was known for his work with the legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. Thurman first fought as an amateur in 1997, and he would go on to have a distinguished career, winning 101 times and scoring a KO in 76 bouts, which is an extremely high knockout percentage for amateur boxing. He earned six national championships before deciding to turn pro shortly before his 19th birthday.
He showed off his punching ability in his very first fight, destroying Kensky Rodney for a first-round TKO. That was no fluke, either, as he won his first eight fights in the first round by either KO or TKO. His ninth fight also ended in the first round, but in a no contest because of an accidental head clash that left both fighters unable to keep going.
Keith Thurman would bounce back from that unfortunate result less than three months later when he defeated Marteze Logan by third-round TKO. He followed that up with a second-round TKO over Travis Hartman. On November 6, 2009, he demonstrated his ability to go the distance for the first time, easily defeating Edvan Dos Santos Barros by unanimous decision after eight rounds.
In the early part of his career, Thurman may not have been facing the best opponents, but he was developing well. His power was apparent in every fight, but he was also learning how to use it better. He was becoming a sharper technician instead of just a powerful brawler who overwhelmed opponents with sheer ferocity.
After that decision win, he put together a streak of seven straight finishes to earn a shot at the WBO-NABO junior middleweight title. It was on November 24, 2012 against Carlos Quintana, and he put on quite the show. He battered the veteran fighter over four rounds to earn a TKO victory. Quintana was so badly beaten that he chose to retire after the bout.
Next, Keith Thurman added the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight title to his collection with a 12-round unanimous decision over Jan Zaveck. His next fight, on July 27, 2013, was for the WBA interim welterweight title. In his first chance at a world title, he showed an impressive amount of heart in a grueling, back-and-forth fight. While the two fighters traded heavy leather, Thurman eventually wore down his opponent, scoring a knockdown in the ninth and then finishing the fight by KO in the 10th round.
He made multiple defenses of his WBA title, which the organization eventually elevated to the full belt instead of just the interim belt. On March 4, 2017, he took on the 33-0 Danny Garcia in a match to unify the WBA and WBC welterweight titles. In his closest fight to that point, he controlled the action just enough to earn a split decision after 12 rounds, with the judges’ scorecards reading 116-112, 115-113 and 113-115, bringing his record to 28-0 (1) in the process.