Avni Yildirim didn’t have a preference in the winner of Saturday’s super middleweight title fight but was pleased with how the night ultimately played out.
David Benavidez regained his old World Boxing Council (WBC) 168-pound title following a 9th round stoppage of Anthony Dirrell in the chief supporting bout of a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View show live from Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. The bout was ordered by the sanctioning body with the condition that the winner next face Turkey’s Yidirim, who suffered a controversial split decision defeat to Dirrell earlier this year.
“My next fight will be for the title versus Benavidez directly, sometime early in 2020,” Yildirim (21-2, 12KOs) told BoxingScene.com. “David Benavidez deserves to be champ. He did everything right, using the (blueprint) we provided on how to hurt Dirrell, and he was able to finish the job.”
Once again, Dirrell (33-2-1, 24KOs) found himself forced to contend with a cut, although this time without the benefit of being bailed out on the scorecards. The Flint, Mich. native won a technical decision over Yildirim in February, having suffered a cut from an accidental headbutt in round seven and with the fight ultimately stopped in round 10, at which point Dirrell was barely ahead on two of the three scorecards.
His first title defense wasn’t as kind, as this time a wound opened up from the result of a clean punch. Benavidez (22-0, 19KOs) continued to apply pressure, piling up points and with the cut worsening until the fight was stopped midway through round nine.
“It was very similar to our fight,” insisted Yildirim of Dirrell having to once again deal with physical adversity. “Against us and again on Saturday, you saw him lose rounds late in the fight. In our bout, the PBC saved him. They couldn’t save him this time and (credit) to Benavidez for finishing the job.”
It was an impressive showing by the unbeaten 22-year old Phoenix (Az.) native but not one which has rendered him invincible.
“David Benavidez is a true champion, a very brave fighter,” notes Yildirim. “But I don’t see him as a very skilled boxer. As long as I stay on him and (apply pressure), he will have a hard time against me.
“Of course, it will be difficult fight which you expect when you are fighting the best. But it will be difficult for both of us. It will be a fight which the crowd will very much enjoy, and one where I will take home the title I should’ve won earlier this year.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox