David Benavidez to defend against Avni Yildirim on January 25
By Dan Ambrose: WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez will be making a defense of his title against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim on January 25, according to ESPN. Despite being the WBC mandatory, Yildirim lost his last fight to Anthony Dirrell. That’s the same fighter that Benavidez just stopped in his last contest in September.
This is the date that IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. was supposed to be defending against Danny Garcia on Fox Sports pay-per-view. but with Spence’s car accident last October, he’s out of the picture for this career.
Card needs main event
What remains to be seen is if the January 25 card will still be shown on Fox Sports PPV. If it is, then they’ll likely need to find a good main even to interest boxing fans in ordering it. There’s no way that Fox can attract fans if they place Benavidez vs. Yildirim as the headliner.
The undefeated Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) doesn’t have a huge fan base yet to justify putting him on PPV at this early point in his career. What further hampers the 22-year-old Benavidez is the fact that his opponent ‘Mr. Robot’ Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) isn’t a household name in the U.S as well.
The hardcore boxing fans that know of Yildirim remember for him for his third round knockout loss to Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017, and his 10 round technical decision defeat to Anthony Dirrell last February.
Avni Yildirim lost his last fight
Yildirim, 28, is backing into a title shot in coming to the match having lost his last fight to Dirrell. Obviously, that’s not the ideal way for a mandatory challenger to be going into a world title fight. Yildirim was coming on at the time the contest was halted after 10 rounds due to a cut that Dirrell had suffered over his right eye from a clash of heads in the 7th round.
It looked like Yildirim had the momentum to eventually get the victory, but his efforts at rallying were cut short due to the injury to Dirrell. Instead of Yildirim facing Benavidez for the WBC belt, it was Dirrell, who was stopped in the 9th round on September 28 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Benavidez will likely be too much for Yildirim to handle. If Eubank Jr. was able to stop Yildirim in three rounds, then Benavidez has a good chance of getting him out of there in the first round if he unloads on. Eubank Jr showed no respect for the slow-handed Yildirim in their fight in the World Boxing Super Series quarterfinal in October 2017. The difference in hand speed between the two was huge. Eubank Jr. was hitting Yildirim with triple hooks to the head, and he couldn’t do anything about it.