Anthony Dirrell edges tough Anvi Yildirim in all-action fight
By John J. Raspanti
Heavily favored Anthony Dirrell captured the WBC super-middleweight title for the second time by technical decision over tough Anvi Yildirim at the Armory in Minneapolis, MN Saturday night.
The fight was stopped in the 10th round due to an accidental cut over the left eye sustained by Dirrell in round seven. The fight featured plenty of back and forth action, with both boxers landing good shots.
One judge scored the fight 98-92 for Yildirim, but the other two judges saw Dirrell the winner by scores of 96-94.
Maxboxing had it 95-95 at the time of the stoppage.
Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) opened the bout jabbing. That strategy seemed his best friend due to an advantage in length and boxing pedigree. Yildirim prefers fighting downhill. He pursued Dirrell aggressively, forcing the boxier-puncher to engage more than he wanted.
Yildirim worked downstairs and fired right hands. Dirrell, a native of Detroit, MI, countered with slashing uppercuts and a left. Dirrell tried to box more in the second stanza, but Yildirim continued to force the action.
Dirrell connected with a big left hook, but Yildirim, who was brutally stopped by Chris Eubank Jr. two years ago, absorbed the blow and banged the body.
Yildirim (24-2, 12 KOs) landed a good right hand in round three. Dirrell switched to southpaw and connected with his own right. The blow knocked Yildirim into the ropes. Dirrell tried to take advantage, but a minute later the tables were turned as Yildirim bulled Dirrell into the ropes and fired. Dirrell connected with a solid left hook at the bell.
The intense action continued in the next few rounds. Both fighters landed good punches to the head and body. Dirrell looked bored and seriously annoyed. Maybe he hadn’t anticipated Yildirim putting up such a tough fight. Or perhaps he was thinking about something he mentioned a lot last week, retirement.
Dirrell tried to stay off the ropes in round five. He jabbed. Space was his best friend. Yildirim, from Turkey, bore in and punched. In round six Dirrell connected with another sharp uppercut. The gutsy Yildirim kept letting his hands go. His punches weren’t hurting Dirrell, but his aggressiveness and activity was scoring points.
Round seven was the most exciting of the bout. Dirrell,34, did well, standing in the middle of the ring and trading with Yildirim. The exchanges were even until Dirrell connected with a huge right followed by a left that seemed to hurt Yildirim for a second or two. During the give and take of the round, a clash of heads produced a cut over the left eye of Dirrell. He wiped at it as he returned to his corner.
Yildirim,27, targeted the bleeding eye in round eight. Dirrell responded by making him pay with a huge left hook. Yildirim ignored the blow and fired back.
The fight was close and hard to judge. Yildirim was the aggressor but Dirrell was doing well with spurts of combinations. It was still puzzling why Dirrell was fighting so much on the inside. This decision played right into the hands of the brawling Yildirim.
Before round 10 commenced, the ringside doctor told Dirrell that he would stop the fight if the cut over his left eye “opened up.” Dirrell circled to his left and fought cautiously. A minute in he stopped and popped. Two combinations connected. Yildirim fought back until the referee stopped the action. Referee Mark Nelson called the doctor over to take another look at the eye. The medical man said the fight was over.
Yildirim began to celebrate, thinking he had won a world title. Referee Mark Nelson quickly informed him that due to the accidental butt, the fight would go to the scorecards.