By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com has been advised that a deal was reached for WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) to make a mandatory defense against top contender Anthony Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KOs).
On May 21, the World Boxing Council had ordered them to fight, and a purse bid, scheduled for Friday June 22, is now canceled. The fight is being targeted for September.
Last year, Benavidez and Dirrell were scheduled to fight each other for the vacant WBC title - but Dirrell withdrew with an injury, and he was later replaced by Ronald Gavril.
Dirrell holds the number 2 ranking under the WBC. Callum Smith, who is part of the World Boxing Super Series tournament, is ranked at 1.
Dirrell previously held the WBC title and lost the belt by way of a close twelve round majority decision to Badou Jack in April of 2015.
Since that loss, he's won five fights in a row - with his last appearance being last month's dominating decision win over Abraham Han.
Benavidez had previously reached a deal to defend his title against former Olympian Matt Korobov (28-1, 14 KOs) of Russia on July 28.
But that contest was canceled when Benavidez became involved in a minor promotional dispute. He attempted to break away from Sampson Boxing and signed a promotional deal with Top Rank. However, he quickly had a change of heart and returned to Sampson Boxing in less than two weeks time - after promoter Sampson Lewkowicz filed a legal suit.
Benavidez retained his world title back in February, when he won a dominant twelve round decision in his rematch with Ronald Gavril. The fight was a do-over of their contest from September 2017, when Benavidez got off the floor in the twelfth and final round to win a close twelve round decision to pick up the vacant WBC title. Because of the close nature of the first contest, the World Boxing Council sanctioned the rematch.