Thurman vs Diaz preview: Keith Thurman - I Am a Fighter

Keith Thurman talks about his start in boxing, and the man who taught him the sport, the late Ben Getty.

"I got started in boxing due to my original trainer Ben Getty putting on a boxing exhibition at the after-school YMCA program, and I was just intrigued at a very young age. I was intrigued. There was something inside my heart that said, 'That's you.'

"Working with Ben was very intimidating. He was just what we'd call the definition of old school. He was the head janitor of my elementary school, so he would drive me directly from the school to the gym and we would go to work every day. He was almost like a second dad. I spent more time with him than I really did with my parents growing up.

"By the time I hit 16, after I've seen myself win several national titles in the amateur rankings, I said to myself, 'Keith, you might be able to be a pro.' I actually sat down with a promoter with my mother and my father and Ben Getty at 16 years old, and started to negotiate a professional contract. The only thing that held me from turning pro was the desire to be an Olympian.

"We made it to the Olympic trials back in 2007, trying to get on the 2008 team, and we lost in the finals of that trials. It was right after I declined the alternate position that I decided to turn pro.

"There were no signs of what was going on with Ben. He was a diabetic. Something happened with his medications. When his family went to check on him, he was passed away. It hurts to know that he's not here. Now that my original trainer isn't here with me, every day at the gym, I just go back to the fundamentals. The way Ben showed me how to throw the jab, how to sit down with the right. And I just always listen to him: 'Don't ever lighten up on your power, boy, because that's what they're afraid of.'

"As you see me, you will see Ben Getty on my trunks. I wear it in honor of him and all the years he spent teaching me to be the fighter I am today. Ben told me, 'You have what it takes to be a champion.' And not to be any champion, I wanna be a legendary champion. That's one thing that truly keeps me motivated. I just want to prove him right."

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