The World Boxing Council (WBC) has ordered welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. to defend his belt against Keith Thurman.
The order occurred during WBC's convention in Mexico, per ESPN's Mike Coppinger, who also noted that Spence could defend his unified welterweight championship.
Spence, 32, is 28-0 (22 knockouts) during his professional career. He most recently retained his WBC and IBF welterweight titles and won the WBA belt after a 10th-round TKO of Yordenis Ugas last April.
Thurman, who will be 34 in November, is 29-1 with one no-contest lifetime. His only loss was to boxing legend Manny Pacquiao by split decision in July 2019.
That match resulted in Thurman losing the WBA welterweight title. Since then, he's earned an unanimous decision victory over Mario Barrios last February.
The Thurman fight has materialized after negotiations between Spence and WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford (38-0) fell through. Coppinger explained what happened there.
"Crawford remains in talks to face Errol Spence Jr. for the undisputed 147-pound championship, but when it became clear to Crawford that PBC was now targeting the first quarter of 2023 for that fight, he decided to push forward with a title defense to ensure he, like Spence, fought at least once in 2022."
Instead, Crawford will fight David Avanesyan on Dec. 10. Per Lance Pugmire of USA Today, February is the expected month for the Spence-Thurman fight.