By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com has received confirmation that David Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) will now fall in line to face Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs) for the vacant WBC super middleweight championship.
The belt became vacant in January, after Badou Jack dropped the belt in order to make a move to light heavyweight.
The World Boxing Council had ordered Dirrell and mandatory challenger Callum Smith to face each other for the vacant belt. A purse bid was held, with promoter Tom Brown, on behalf of Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions, securing the promotional rights with the winning bid.
But there were ongoing issues with finalizing the fight, as documented on BoxingScene.com over the last few weeks.
There were a deal signed for September 9 in Los Angeles. In the last two weeks, Dirrell's camp made attempts to move the fight to September 8th in Flint, Michigan - which is Dirrell's hometown. Smith's promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, refused - because both sides already signed contracts to fight in Los Angeles.
Because of the friction, the fight fell apart.
On Thursday, a big announcement was made that Smith had officially signed to be a part of the World Boxing Super Series, which is a high stakes tournament taking place in the fall.
Also on Thursday, it was announced that Avni Yildirim - ranked #3 by the WBC - had also joined the World Boxing Super Series.
Based on the recent series of events, WBC #2 Dirrell and WBC #4 Benavidez will collide for the vacant belt. Benavidez has already a WBC eliminator in May with a knockout of Rogelio Medina.
The deal should be easy to make, as both boxers are advised by Al Haymon and are part of the Premier Boxing Champions umbrella.
Benavidez's promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, will begin immediate negotiations.
"I will begin negotiations for this fight immediately and David Benavidez will make history as the first boxer to win the super middleweight title at 20-years-old. I have worked with a few special fighters in my long career. The first was Manny Pacquiao, who I brought to this country. The next was Sergio Martinez, who I also brought here to the United States. And the next one is Benavidez, who will also make history and I predict that he will become of the biggest stars in boxing in the next few years," Lewkowicz told BoxingScene.com.