By Danny Alvarez
All of us recently bore witness to the WBC-IBF super middleweight unification slobberknocker between James DeGale and Badou Jack, an epic ended with DeGale losing his upper row of his teeth.
What many didn’t know was that the teeth were just temporary fixes. In fact, according to a David Haye revelation, the real damage had been done a week before in sparring:
“He actually got his teeth punched out a week before in Miami,” David Haye revealed in an Instagram Live post.
Haye's been in South Beach preparing for his heavyweight grudge match against WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew.
"So when they say Badou Jack punched his teeth out, no, he didn't."
So who did?
We did some digging at the world’s famous 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach — Muhammad Ali’s old stomping grounds — and got wind of the sparring session that shattered the Brit’s entire upper row of fangs.
Turns out it was Turkish super middleweight Avni "The Robot" Yildirim (14-0, 9 KOs), the No. 3 WBC contender — also known as "The Dentist" in the 5th Street Gym — who did the DDS job on DeGale.
The young Turk is a European powerhouse, whose earned a stamp of Instagram approval from former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver: “Monster.”
According to people in the gym, as DeGale stood up against the ropes, a vicious right uppercut connected with the IBF champ, sending the Brit's teeth flying in multiple directions, with one ricocheting off a poster of a young Cassius Clay.
“My guy’s not going to say but I can say it — he kicked James DeGale’s ass and robbed him of his teeth, NOT Badou Jack,” said The Dentist's coach Ahmet Oner, the former manager of Cuban standouts Odlanier Solis, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux
Jack recently vacated the WBC belt, leaving WBC's No. 1 and No. 2 Callum Smith and Anthony Dirrell behind to fight for the vacant strap.
At under 15 fights, Yildirim sits in position for a shot at the winner. While the Smith-Dirrell situation plays out, Oner says Yildirim will be fighting Feb. 18 in Milano before jumping into a big fight for WBC hardware.
“He hasn’t been been babied, he’s been put in with real guys,” Oner says. “We put him in with Glen Johnson in his sixth fight in Glen’s hometown and he won every round.”
As for “The Dentist’s” own take on the DeGale’s tooth situation?
“No comment,” he says. “We don’t kiss and tell.”