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Yildirim vs. Cullen: Avni making a comeback this Saturday


By Max Schram: Avni Yildirim promises to show the world the ‘New Avni’ this Saturday night when he takes on Jack Cullen at 160 on July 31st at the Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex. Avni believes that he’ll be improved in moving down to 160, but we’ll see if that’s true on Saturday.

For this Saturday’s fight with Cullen, Yildirim will be battling him at a 164-lb catchweight.

Suppose everything goes well for Yildirim. He’ll beat the domestic level fighter Cullen impressively and then face former WBO 154-lb champion Jaime Munguia. That’s a flight that Yildirim badly wants, as it’ll put him in a position to challenge for a world title if he wins.

Avni needs a win

Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) is coming into his 10-round fight against Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KOs), having lost his last two fights against Canelo Alvarez and Anthony Dirrell.

The 29-year-old ‘Mr. Robot’ Yildirim needs a good showing against Cullen to reverse all the bad press he got following his third round stoppage loss last February against Canelo.


Yildirim threw only a tiny amount of punches in that fight before his trainer pulled him out of the contest after the third round.

Yildirim owes Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, some gratitude for believing in him and giving him a chance to fight on his card this Saturday night at the Matchroom Fight Camp.

Many promoters would have given up on Yildirim after his poor showing against Canelo, but Hearn is giving him a shot.

On February 27th, Yildirim challenged WBA/WBC 168-lb champion Canelo Alvarez for his titles on DAZN at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. Sadly, in that fight, Yildirim was woefully bad, getting nailed at will by Canelo and not throwing punches back at him.

When it became apparent that Yildirim wouldn’t let his hands go, his trainer Joel Diaz pulled the plug on the fight to save him from taking punishment.

Diaz is no longer training Yildirim. He’s been replaced by Pedro Diaz. We’ll see if Diaz can motivate Yildirim enough to get him to throw punches.

Yildirim says things will be different

“Everybody wants to fight against Canelo Alvarez, but I’m not ready for the fight,” said Yildirim to Matchroom Boxing. “I wanted war in the ring, but I’m not ready.

“Everybody knows that Eddie [Hearn] too. But hopefully, at middleweight, everything goes good. It was a very big experience and a very big atmosphere—my God.

“It’s a new weight class middleweight, and now it’s a new division, a new coach and new trainer. Hopefully, everything will go good.

“Everything is going well, but after the fight, you will see. Everyone will see a new Avni. The second page is open for Avni Yildirim.

“After the second fight, everyone will see everything, but I trust my coach. I did a very good training camp in Miami.

“But at middleweight, everything will be changed, I promise you. I want a good comeback. After the second fight, I want to go to [Jaime] Munguia fight,” said Yildrim.

Yildirim has been very slow at 168, and that problem could be more pronounced with him moving down to 160.

No trash-talking by Yildirim

“I respect every fighter, but after Saturday, everyone will see,” said Yildirim. “I don’t want to talk too much. After the Canelo fight, I told myself, ‘Don’t talk too much. I believe in myself, I believe in my coach, and I did a good training camp. That’s it.


“That’s boxing. Small, big, that’s no problem for me,” said Yildirim. “I’m ready for everyone. I need to get a great comeback.

“I want to thank DAZN and Eddie [Hearn] for the big chance. Now, Eddie and DAZN will see. They will see a new Avni, I promise.

“We have a good plan,” continued Yildirim. “My coach has a good plan. It’s no problem for me. I’m ready for the fight. I believe in myself so much. After the second fight, I want to go different. I respect everyone,” said Yildirim.

“I think we will see,” Yildirim said when asked if he’ll stop Cullen.

It’s good that Yildirim isn’t making any bold predictions because he’s not in a position to do so. After losing his last two fights, Yildirim needs to make believers out of the fans.

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