As per the arrangement that brought about David Benavidez’s title shot against Anthony Dirrell, WBC head honcho Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed to ESPN Deportes that Avni Yildirim will be “El Bandera Roja’s” first title challenger.
Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO) received a crack at the belt when Benavidez (22-0, 19 KO), who was gearing up for a fight with Dirrell, tested positive for cocaine and was subsequently stripped of his title. Dirrell suffered a cut due to a clash of heads that halted things in the 10th round, giving him a narrow win via technical decision that prompted Yildirim to appeal for an immediate rematch.
Instead, the WBC gave him first crack at whoever won between Dirrell and Benavidez upon the latter’s return. That turned out to be Benavidez, who sliced up Dirrell’s eyelid this past Saturday before putting him away with a sustained flurry.
“Mr. Robot” is game, but his knockout loss to Chris Eubank Jr. and seven-inch reach disadvantage make it hard to see him winning this. Even if Benavidez’s lack of footwork makes his chances against fellow top elites like Caleb Plant and Callum Smith a tad shaky, he ostensibly has the goods to bulldoze Yildirim with his pressure and hand speed.