By Keith Idec
Watching from ringside as his younger brother regained the WBC super middleweight title Saturday night inspired Andre Dirrell.
The elder Dirrell is getting healthy and preparing to resume his career late this spring. The 35-year-old Dirrell told FS1’s Jordyn Hardy during a televised interview before Anthony Dirrell’s victory over Avni Yildirim that he’s still recovering from a fractured fibula.
The former IBF super middleweight champion also informed Hardy that he’ll continue his career within the light heavyweight division (175 pounds). The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist has fought almost exclusively at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds during his 14 years as a pro.
“I’ll be back in there,” Andre Dirrell said. “I’m looking about around late-May, early-June. I’m just coming back from a fibula fracture. I just broke it playing soccer with my kids. You know what I’m saying? Another setback for a comeback, for a bigger comeback. But nevertheless, I’ll be coming back and I’ll be coming back at 175. So, I’m very excited about that. I definitely wanna end my career off in fashion, so I’ll move up to the 175-pound weight division and I’ll make some noise.”
Andre Dirrell (26-3, 16 KOs) hasn’t fought since Jose Uzcategui beat him by technical knockout in their IBF super middleweight championship rematch last March 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Venezuela’s Uzcategui (28-3, 23 KOs) roughed up Dirrell during that fight, first with a body shot in the third round.
After watching Uzcategui batter and bloody Dirrell for most of the ensuing five rounds, Jacob “Stitch” Duran, Dirrell’s cut man, instructed a New York State Athletic Commission official to make referee Ricky Gonzalez stop their bout before the ninth round started. Dirrell decided to move up seven pounds following that damaging defeat, rather than retire.
His one-year layoff has been the continuance of his trend in recent years. The athletic southpaw has boxed just three times since England’s James DeGale defeated him by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 168-pound title bout in May 2015 in Boston.
Meanwhile, Anthony Dirrell beat Turkey’s Yildirim by split, technical decision in what developed into terrific, back-and-forth fight Saturday night at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, defeated Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) on two of three scorecards – 96-94, 96-94, 92-98 – once a ringside physician decided Dirrell’s long, deep cut over his left eye was too damaging for him to start the 11th round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.