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Thurman relinquishes WBC belt, keeps WBA title

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Frank Franklin II / Associated Press

Keith Thurman punches Danny Garcia, right, during the third round of a welterweight championship boxing match Saturday, March 4, 2017, in New York. Thurman won the fight.

Welterweight champion Keith Thurman is relinquishing his WBC title.

Thurman, who also owns the WBA belt, said Tuesday he would step aside while rehabilitating from elbow surgery and a recent hand injury. That should lead to Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter fighting for the championship.

Garcia and Porter have lost to Thurman. WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said Thurman will be a mandated opponent for the organization's champion once he heals.

The 29-year-old Thurman (28-0, 22 knockouts) has been plagued by a string of injuries the last two years. He injured his neck in an auto accident in February 2016, four months before beating Porter.

He defeated Garcia by split decision in a welterweight unification match on March 4, 2017. A month later he had major surgery on his right elbow to remove bone spurs and calcium deposits.

In training last month, Thurman damaged his hand.