Canelo to face mandatory challenger Yildirim in February

By Rob Lancaster 22 January 2021 16
Canelo to face mandatory challenger Yildirim in February

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will be back in the ring on February 27, defending his WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim.  

Canelo claimed the belts in December, handing Callum Smith his first career defeat as he recorded a unanimous points triumph over the Englishman in San Antonio, Texas.  

Now the Mexican superstar will head to Florida for his next outing, the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens chosen to stage the clash with Yildirim.  

While keen to eventually unify the 168-pound division, the 30-year-old must first deal with his mandatory challenger for the WBC strap.  

"Avni Yildirim is a good boxer and I know we will put on an exciting fight," said Canelo.   

"I'm very glad that we are able to bring this event to Miami, a short distance from where my hero, Muhammad Ali, trained.   

"February 27 will be a great night for the sport."

Yildirim, who owns a 21-2 record as a pro, previously challenged for the vacant WBC belt in February 2019, losing via a technical decision after opponent Anthony Dirrell suffered a cut that forced their bout to be stopped.  

However, the 29-year-old - whose other loss came against Chris Eubank Jr in 2017 - is ready to go to war as he aims to cause a huge upset.  

"I am honoured as a mandatory to fight again for the big green belt - thank you to everyone who is involved," Yildirim said in a press release to announce the date. 

"I always give my all – and everybody should be ready to see a war. I am coming to make my country proud – I am representing the whole of Turkey."

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