Shawn Porter was set to step into the ring at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut for the biggest fight of his career Saturday. However, the long-anticipated bout against WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman (26-0-0, 22KOs) was postponed after Thurman suffered whiplash from a car accident in February.
Shawn Porter (26-1-1, 16 KOs) had nearly completed a full training camp when he received word the fight was cancelled. Not wanting to be kept out of the ring any longer, Porter decided to host his own exhibition fight.
Shawn Porter will face Lanardo Tyner (30-10-2, 19 KOs) at Porter Hy-Performance Center, Porter’s Las Vegas training gym, on March 12. It will be streamed live on the Premier Boxing Champions Facebook page at 10:30 p.m. ET / 9:30 p.m. CT.
— PBC (@premierboxing) March 7, 2016
“When I found out about March 12 not happening because of what happened to Keith, I tried to move forward to fight someone else. But given the level of that fight with Keith, there wasn’t anything for me really. So my dad and I decided to do this exhibition. I’m not getting paid. This is 100% for anybody out there who loves to see me compete and perform.”
Shawn Porter hasn’t fought since June, when he beat Adrien Broner by decision. Porter’s father and trainer Kenny Porter said the 12-round exhibition will help Shawn maintain his focus for the delayed WBA Welterweight Championship bout.
“We’re doing the exhibition because Shawn was so focused on fighting Keith Thurman that we wanted to keep him focused until we can determine when they’ll be boxing again. We figured the only way we could keep that focus was to have someone push Shawn for 12 rounds or however long it last.”
ESPN reports the March 12 exhibition will not be an official fight. It will be complete with unofficial judges and a professional referee, but the result will not go on record. The fighters will wear protective headgear and 16-ounce gloves. While the Porter camp wants this to feel like an authentic fight, they also want to protect Shawn from any injuries that may further delay him from facing Keith Thurman.
“We’re going to have everything a big fight will have — a weigh-in the [day] before, the referee, the ring card girls. Mentally and physically, Shawn needs this because he hasn’t fought in [nine] months.”
This is not fun. It's a pushback—not a setback. We’ll be back soon. #OneTime
— Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithfthurmanjr) March 7, 2016
One person who will probably be watching Shawn Porter’s exhibition very closely is Keith Thurman. He told Premier Boxing Champions he is focused on healing and making the fight happen, but he will not rush into it before he has completely recovered.
The reschedule date will depend on just how quickly Keith Thurman is able to bounce back. The 147-pound champion has not yet been released by his doctors to resume training. For now, Thurman is doing physical therapy and seeing progress little by little.
“Things are flowing smoothly. I keep getting better results week by week. It is incremental, and it is layering. Luckily we do see those signs and we are not stagnant. It’s good. I’m relaxed. I’m looking forward to making this fight happen but definitely taking the recommended six to eight weeks that is necessary for my recovery and the healing process.”
Shawn Porter will hold a 30-minute question and answer session following the exhibition. Shawn told his Facebook fans he will also discuss what is next for him during the chat. Porter said he is “excited and blessed” to hold the event for his fans who are anxious to see him fight again.
[Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images]