Avni Yildirim has been the WBC mandatory contender for two years. He stepped aside last fall and allowed Alvarez to fight Callum Smith. Yildirim knew he’d get the winner. Alvarez acquiesced. No way he wanted to lose his title after just winning it.
He’s a 29-year-old boxer from Turkey.
His amateur record shows 120 wins and 12 losses.
He won the national championship five times. He captured a bronze medal at the Mediterranean Championships.
He’s been a professional for seven years compiling a record of 21 wins in 23 fights, 12 by knockout.
Good enough to beat Canelo Alvarez this Saturday at Miami’s Hard Rock Cafe?
Avni Yildirim has been the WBC mandatory contender for two years. He stepped aside last fall so Alvarez could fight Callum Smith. Yildirim knew he’d get the winner. Alvarez acquiesced. No way he wanted to lose his title after just winning it.
Alvarez (54-1, 36 KOs) dominated Callum Smith with ease last December. Many thought the fight would be tougher. Smith came in undefeated, with huge advantages in height and reach.
No matter. Alvarez walked him down and beat him up.
“His best asset was his presence and his defense,” Smith said a few weeks ago. “He was so hard to hit clean. When I was throwing, he was riding them, making me miss. You aren’t landing so you stop fully committing to shots. He takes away what you are good at.”
Alvarez has won multiples titles in four different weight divisions. He picked up the WBA super-middleweight title in 2018 when he brought Rocky Fielding to his knees in less than three rounds. The fight was called a mismatch when it was announced. The news wasn’t fake. Canelo did what he wanted, putting away the towering Fielding with body shots.
Seven months later he defeated Danny Jacobs in a close fight and moved up again, facing light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Alvarez knocked out Kovalev in round 11.
What’s all this mean?
Alvarez is on a roll.
Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) helped prepare Alvarez for his rematch with Gennady Golovkin two years ago. His trainer, Joel Diaz, is confident.
“Avni may be an underdog,” said Diaz. “but he doesn’t care what anybody says, he’s fighting for his country and he’s going to shock the world.”
Alvarez refuses to look past Yildirim.
“I’m not going to deny the favoritism [for me], but boxing is very complicated and I do think Yildirim will be a good opponent,’" Canelo told Elisinio Castillo of www.boxingscene.com.
"He’s a good boxer and I think we’re going to make an exciting fight for the audience who are going to attend the event that night and for those who will follow the fight on television.’’
Look for Alvarez to win before round seven.