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David Benavidez to face Anthony Dirrell in August or September

Anthony Dirrell

By Dan Ambrose: David Benavidez will be challenging WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell for his title in August or September, according to ESPN. Benavidez’s promoter Sampson Lewkowicz revealed that they have an agreement for the unbeaten former World Boxing Council super middleweight champion Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs), who is currently the WBC Champion in Recess, to face the 34-year-old Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) for his WBC 168 lb title.

It was decided by the WBC on Monday for Dirrell to defend his WBC super middleweight belt against the 22-year-old Benavidez with the winner of the fight facing mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) in their next defense of the belt. World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman held a news conference on Monday to discuss the organization’s resolution. Yildirim lost his last fight to Dirrell by a 10 round technical decision on February 23 in Minesota. The fight was stopped due to Dirrell suffering a cut from head-butt that he had suffered three rounds earlier in the seventh. However, Yildirim was talking over the fight at the time of the stoppage, and there’s a good chance he would have won if the fight had gone the distance.

With the fight being stopped after the 10th round, it went to the scorecards, and Dirrell got the ‘W’ by the scores 96-94, 96-94 Dirrell, and 98-92 for Yildirim. Ahmet Oener, the promoter for Yildirim, appealed to the WBC to have them order an immediate rematch against Dirrell. The WBC instead said Yildirim won’t get an immediate rematch, but he can fight on the undercard of the Dirrell-Benavidez card and then face the winner of that fight. It’s a good deal for Yildirim if he’s confident he can beat Benavidez, who will likely be the favorite against Dirrell. If Yildirim doesn’t like the idea of potentially fighting Benavidez, he can always turn down the fight and go in another direction. Yildirim will need to make an important decision. If he turns down the winner of the Dirrell vs. Benavidez fight, he would be missing out on a nice payday, and his chances might not be any better in him beating any of the other champions at super middleweight.

Benavidez held the WBC super middleweight title last year, and he was posed to defend it against #1 ranked Dirrell at the time. However, Benavidez tested positive for cocaine, and the WBC then subsequently stripped him of his belt. After dealing with a four-month suspension, Benavidez came back this month to stop J’Leon Love in the second round on March 16 on the undercard of Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It was an impressive performance by Benavidez in stealing the thunder from Spence in he main event. Benavidez would have received more press had he fought a better opponent than Love, who at this point in his career is a fringe contender.

“I saw Anthony Dirrell with the WBC belt. He can’t call himself champion until he fights me,” Benavidez said. “That’s my belt. I’m going to go get it. It’s mine.”

Dirrell is going to have a hard time dealing with Benavidez’s size, power, youth and pressure style of fighting. Dirrell’s only career loss came against pressure fighter Badou Jack in 2015. Benavidez fights the same way as Jack, but he’s more of a puncher and a lot younger. If Dirrell’s stamina problems that he showed in fights against Yildirim and Denis Douglin resurface against Benavidez, he’s not going to last long against him. Dirrell will need to be in good shape, and ready for a real war from start to finish. Dirrell has the punching power, speed and punch accuracy to potentially beat Benavidez, but he’ll need to go after hum early if he’s to win this fight. Dirrell arguably has a puncher’s chance against Benavidez.

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