Jack Cullen vs Avni Yildirim on July 31, live on DAZN
Avni Yildirim has brushed off his defeat at the hands of pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez and is ready to launch his quest at a new weight when he takes on Jack Cullen on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
Yildirim (21-3 12 KOs) took on Canelo in Miami in February, challenging the Mexican star for the WBC and WBA World Super-Middleweight Titles at the home of the Miami Dolphins, but the Turk was unable to dethrone the champion and was pulled out after the third round by then-trainer Joel Diaz.
The 29-year-old previously challenged Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC strap in February 2019, losing via a controversial split decision in Minneapolis, and now Yildirim has chosen to drop down to 164lbs in a catchweight clash with Cullen and to also team up with a new coach in Pedro Diaz.
“The Canelo fight is old news,” said Yildirim. “I am looking to open a new page on my career down at Middleweight. I have a new trainer in Pedro Diaz, it’s a new start and I have a new lease of life, everything feels good.”
Diaz is one of the world’s finest trainers, having worked with the vaunted Cuban teams in four Olympics and guiding the Dominican Republic in another, before switching to the pro game and working in the corners of modern greats like Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Yildirim will be looking to absorb his years of experience in this new chapter.
Yildirim’s first assignment under Diaz sees him take on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ over ten rounds at the second instalment of Matchroom’s Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex. Cullen fights for the second time in the unique setting having drawn with Zak Chelli last summer and added a fine win over John Docherty to his CV in November.
A clash with Yildirim came out of leftfield for both men and has been well received by pundits, but Yildirim is not focusing on his British foe, but looking to make a statement in the Middleweight division and warn the belt-holders that he is gunning for their hardware.
“I’m in a new gym, new atmosphere,” said Yildirim. “Pedro is one of the best trainers in the world and a great guy, and I think that he can make me a World Champion at 160lbs, and I’m telling the champions – I am coming for you.
“I know what I want to be, a great champion at Middleweight, and Pedro believes in me and says that I can do it. My motivation is so high, and my body and my mind are both in a great place.”
‘Mr Robot’ looks to bounce back against Cullen
Jack Cullen says he will take full advantage of a golden opportunity when he clashes with former World Title challenger Avni Yildirim for the IBF International Super-Middleweight Title on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
After a fiery build up in the Matchroom bubble, Cullen recovered from a first round knockdown to hand undefeated prospect John Docherty a first career loss in their British Super-Middleweight Title Eliminator last time out in November at The SSE Arena, Wembley
Turkish star Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) heads into battle on the back of an unsuccessful challenge against pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez in February at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Mexican icon Canelo was too good as he defended his WBC and WBA Super-Middleweight World Titles via a third round stoppage.
“John Docherty got the fight going at the end of the day – he started with his mouth and it made more people tune in,” said Cullen. “This is what boxing is all about, it’s all about having exciting fights. It was a good fight and I came home with the win. I was expecting to. I don’t want to take anything away from John Docherty – he’s a good boxer but I’m bigger and better.
“I don’t feel like I’m an underdog in this one. If anything I’m the favourite! He has been in with the best. You’ll see on fight night that I should be up there as well. You can’t really go off Canelo, he’s a superstar isn’t he. Whoever he fights he beats! All I can take away from it is Yildirim is a tough and strong lad.
“He comes for a fight. It can only be an exciting scrap. Everyone knows I enjoy getting involved in a fight. He enjoys a fight too. No matter what time it is in the ring, whatever round it is, we’re going to clash. It’s going to be a brilliant fight for the crowd and for those watching on DAZN.
“At the end of the day he’s a fighting man and he doesn’t want to get beat. Anybody that gets into the ring doesn’t want to get beat. He’s going to give it his all and I’m going to give it my all. You don’t look past anybody, and Yildirim shouldn’t be looking past me. We’ll prove to everyone how good I am. You’ll see my hand getting raised at the end of the night.
“This is going to be a dream come true for me hopefully. You never know, anything could happen after this. It’s entirely up to Matchroom and DAZN. Get past Yildirim and it puts me right up there. I think he’s ranked at number 21 or 22 in the world. There’s no reason not to be putting me up there.”
Cullen is no stranger to Fight Camp having been part of the first incarnation last year when he drew with Zak Chelli behind closed doors in August, and the fan-friendly 27-year-old says he will only benefit from the return of live crowds as 300 boxing enthusiasts pack into the stunning Matchroom HQ grounds.
“You couldn’t be fighting in a better place than Eddie Hearn’s back garden. I got 25 tickets and I’ve sold them all. Especially with a crowd this time, it’s going to be mega. I love all of the people who come and support me. They all put their hard-earned money into coming to watch me. It’s the same this time. They’ve all spent big money on the tickets. Crowds definitely help a fighter.”
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