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Joel Diaz says Avni Yildirim has the power to beat Canelo Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez

By Sean Jones: Avni Yildirim’s trainer Joel Diaz says his fighter has the punching power to hurt Saul Canelo Alvarez, and that’s what they intend on doing on February 27th.

Diaz doesn’t feel hopeful that Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) will get a decision win against the highly popular and skilled Canelo 54-1-2, 36 KOs), which is why he’s going to be shooting for a knockout.

Canelo and his former sparring partner Yildirim are headlining on DAZN from the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. Not surprisingly, Canelo, 30, is the favorite heading into this fight.

Yildirim has a couple of strikes against him based on his two years of inactivity and his failures in his fights against Chris Eubank Jr and Anthony Dirrell. Those were easily the hardest fights of Yildirim’s career, and he wasn’t good enough to win.

Diaz says he’s been working with the 29-year-old Yildirim throughout the pandemic, and he’s improved his fighting style. We’ll see how improved Yildirim is when he gets inside the ring with Canelo.

In a training video this week, Yildirim looked very powerful in working out with Diaz. He looked stronger than many of Canelo’s past opponents, Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, and Gennadiy Golovkin.

Yildirim has a huge fan base

“Avni is motivated; he’s excited. He’s been training for a while back in Germany,” said trainer Joel Diaz to Fino Boxing. “And he’s a people’s champion in Turkey.

Canelo Alvarez

“He has a fan base that is huge. I didn’t know how big of a fan base he has. In Turkey, everyone knows him. He’s the only fighter from Turkey. He has a big fan base, and he’s really loved in Turkey. He says, ‘I do this for my people.’

“Fans generate haters and followers,” said Diaz. “Canelo could have haters, but he’s still the best pound-for-pound fighter out there. He earned his position, but there are going to be a lot of people out there cheering for us.

“We’re just concentrating on working, and giving the fans and looking for the victory,” said Diaz

It’s hard to imagine Yildirim being so popular in Turkey because he’s not well known in the U.S or the UK.

Yildirim’s wins during his 12-year professional career aren’t significant enough for him to become a star in places like the U.S.

Yildirim’s best wins:

  • Lolenga Mock
  • Ryan Ford
  • Marco Antonio Periban
  • Derek Edwards
  • Aaron Pryor Jr
  • Walter Gabriel Sequeira
  • Janne Forsman

Canelo will be cautious of Avni’s power

“I think every man that steps in the ring with Canelo has a chance,” said Diaz. “Even though Canelo is a great fighter, and he’s one of the best fighters out there.

Canelo Alvarez

“He has great ability, great punching power, slick, everything. But I believe that every fighter that gets in the ring with Canelo, based on their past, the way they earned their spot to get in the ring, everybody has a chance.

“It could be Avni; it could be anybody. Everybody has a chance, as long as you put in the work and you walk in that ring telling yourself that you’re going to win and come out victorious.

“That’s why we’re working with Avni. Making him think and putting that in his mind. ‘You have power, and you’re durable, you’re aggressive, you have heart.

“He wants to be the only Turkish fighter in history to be a world champion. Avni is very physically strong.

“If he applies pressure on Canelo, with a good defense, I believe with one exchange with both fighters because they’re both strong, either or can do down.

“You have fighters out there that don’t have power, and Canelo disrespects them because they don’t have power.

“But with Avni, he’s going to be very cautious because Avni hits hard with both hands,” said Diaz.

Canelo has to be cautious of the power of Yildirim because he could hurt him if he catches him on the right spot.

The 16-year professional Alvarez is known for his ability to avoid shots or ride with them, but he’ll need to be careful at all times against Yildirim.

If Canelo gets caught with the right shot from the Turkish fighter, it’s going to be goodnight.

Diaz has improved Yildirim

“In one short exchange from both ends, either or can get knocked down,” Diaz said. “Canelo, I think Avni helped him spar for the two GGG fights, so Canelo knows him.

Canelo Alvarez

“But he’s no longer the fighter he was sparring back then. I basically changed him all last year that he was with me. He was with me for quite a bit of time during the pandemic.

“So during that time, there was no boxing. So I decided to teach him. He was really excited, and he likes to learn. He’s a smart fighter, and that’s why he chose me to be his trainer and be in his corner.

“Canelo always prepares himself really well,” said Diaz. “Knowing Canelo, Canelo has a lot of weight on his back because he cannot procrastinate or take a fight easy because he has a lot to lose.

“Canelo and his team are smart. Canelo, Eddy Reynoso, and Chepo, they know regardless of who it is, he needs to prepare himself 100%. I know them; I know their style of work and their mentality.

“And I know Canelo isn’t going to take Avni easy, even though it might cross his mind.

“Avni hasn’t fought in two years, but I know he carries power. So he can’t procrastinate or take it lightly because one punch can change a fight,” Diaz said.

In Yildirim’s last fight against Anthony Dirrell in 2019, he didn’t look that good through the first eight rounds, but he figured him out and dominated the last four rounds.

Yildirim appeared to learn during the course that fight, and looked like a much different guy than he did when he started.

Avni needs a knockout to beat Canelo

“I’m being realistic; I know going 12 rounds with Canelo Alvarez, we will not walk out with a victory,” said Diaz.

Canelo Alvarez

“So from the beginning, we have to plan a great attack to go in there and look for a knockout or get knocked out. We know you have to go in there and look for the best way to come out victorious.

“Canelo has the better ability to fight, he has great footwork, and he has great boxing ability. In a decision, I’m very realistic; we will not win.

“So we have to go in and try and hurt Canelo. Either way, hurt him, or he hurts us. We cannot go the distance, and if we do, we will not walk out with a decision.

“I’m honored to be part of this vent. A lot of this is due to Canelo accepting the challenges. I think Canelo and Canelo’s team for giving us the opportunity.

“Obviously, sharing the ring with them is an honor. So we’re going to give the fans a great fight on February 27th,” said Diaz.

Sadly, Diaz might be right about Avni needing a knockout for him to beat Canelo.

With the fight being in Miami, Florida, rather than Las Vegas, it’s possible that Yildirim can win a decision against Canelo, but he shouldn’t risk it.

It’s better if Yildirim takes the judges out of the equation by going for the knockout. Putting a lot of pressure on Canelo is a good way of beating him.

Canelo has supposedly improved over the years, but his stamina is just as bad it’s always been.




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