On Thursday, it was announced that Canelo Alvarez returns to the ring two months after his last performance on Saturday, Feb. 27, against Avni Yildirim from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. The event can be seen exclusively on DAZN in over 200 countries.
Six days before Christmas, Alvarez dominated Callum Smith to win by unanimous decision to capture the WBA (super), vacant WBC, and The Ring super middleweight titles and extend his record to 54-1-2 with 36 knockouts.
But who is Avni Yildirim , and how did he get to land the magic ticket to face the biggest star in boxing?
Who is Avni Yildirim?
Yildirim, 29, has lived his entire life in Turkey. His destiny has always been getting into boxing. He's the most of his opportunity.
Yildirim was a standout amateur in his home country, where he went 120-12. He won the national championship five times. He also won bronze at the Mediterranean Championships and represented Turkey at the World Championships in 2013 Kazakhstan, losing in the second round. After the loss, Yildirim decided to turn professional.
On March 22, 2014, Yildirim made his pro debut, beating Davit Ribakoni on points. He started his career on a great run, going 16-0 with ten of those via knockout. Then he entered the first season of the World Boxing Super Series, where he met Chris Eubank Jr. in the opening round in October 2017. Eubank overwhelmed Yildirim with his speed and power to knock out the Turk in the third round and hand him his first pro loss.
After the setback, Yildirim reeled off five consecutive wins in 11 months to put himself in the spot to take on Anthony Dirrell for the vacant WBC 168-pound title in February 2019. Yildirim came on strong in the second half of the fight but lost by technical decision when Dirrell suffered a cut due to an accidental headbutt in the tenth round, and the contest was stopped. Yildirim ended up being up on one scorecard, but that wasn't enough to win.
Yildirim hasn't fought since but earned the chance to face Alvarez because he is the WBC mandatory challenger.