On Saturday night, Anthony Dirrell will glove up in Minneapolis, and he’ll get in the ring with Avni Yildirim in a PBC on FS1 main event. The vacant WBC super middleweight title is on the line. It’s a big fight for both men.
Dirrell, now 34, has been in this spot before. He’s a former titleholder, and he wants to get back to that level.
But does he want to stay there long? No, he says. Dirrell (32-1-1, 24 KO) may retire after Saturday’s fight, no matter the outcome, and at the very least, he’s close to leaving boxing behind.
“You got to get out before this game puts you out. I always said I wanted to retire at 34. Now I am 34. I don’t want to be an old guy who can’t pronounce something and has trouble. I want to start a new chapter. ... There’s new talent coming into the sport and the old is going out. I started 14 years ago in 2005. Probably this will be my last fight or my last year boxing, for sure. I want to relax and enjoy the fruit that I have I worked hard for. But winning this title would mean the world. It will mean I am a two-time world champion and I could walk away.”
Dirrell has been boxing since he was nine years old — when you factor in those amateur years, you’re talking about 25 of 34 years on this planet that Anthony Dirrell has been fighting. He says he’s invested money well and that he already has income outside of boxing. He’s got three young sons he doesn’t want to get into the sport. He sounds ready to leave, if not now then soon.
Yildirim (21-1, 12 KO) will be across the ring on Saturday. Dirrell’s the favorite — he’s a better, more proven fighter on paper — but Yildirim wants to be world champion just as bad, surely. The 27-year-old Turkish fighter has won five straight following a 2017 wipeout loss to Chris Eubank Jr.