Avni Yildirim failed in his attempt to bounce back from his one-sided defeat to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in February as he lost a wide ten-round decision to Jack Cullen (20-2-1, 9 KOs) at Fight Camp in Essex.
Yildirim (21-5, 12 KOs) boxed as if he had expected the taller Cullen to run, but he stood his ground and battled with Yildirim, mostly beating him to the punch.
Cullen made a fast start, ensuring that when Yildirim marched forward, he was met with a torrent of punches and any hopes Yildiim had that Cullen would fall apart when he landed proved wide of the mark. The Lancashire fighter looked confident that he could stand and trade with the Turkish boxer and did that throughout.
The tide began to turn in the fourth round, as Yildirim closed the gap and landed hard hooks to head and body.
But Cullen regrouped and fired right back in the fifth round, catching the Turkish boxer repeatedly.
Yildirim was too predictable and even when he did land, Cullen was the busier.
In the eighth round, a Yildirim left hook seemed to bend Cullen in half, but far from wilt, he came back to dominate the second half of the round and when the pair exchanged rights, it was Cullen’s shot that seemed to have more impact.
At the final bell, Yildirim seemed convinced he had done enough and looked shocked when the scores were read out, giving Cullen victory by scores of 100-90, 98-92 and 97-93.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.