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January 23, 2017

Yildirim-Dirrell in WBC 168lbs eliminator?

Avni Yildirim

Avni Yildirim (above) could be in line to face Anthony Dirrell in a WBC super middleweight title eliminator

by Shaun Brown

Ahmet Ohner, promoter to Avni Yildirim, says they have been offered a fight against former WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell.

In a news summary circular issued by the World Boxing Council (WBC) last night they indicated that the fight would be an eliminator for the vacant green belt at 168lbs. The title was recently held by champion Badou Jack after his thrilling unification fight against IBF champion James DeGale which ended in a majority draw.

Soon after Jack and his team indicated their desire to move to light heavyweight leaving the title without a home.

A Yildrim-Dirrell fight would put a spanner in the works of a proposed fight between the WBC number one contender Callum Smith and number two Dirrell, which had been mooted after Jack moved decided to move seven pounds north.

"We were offered a fight against former champion Anthony Dirrell," said Ohner. "I think Anthony's best time is over and it's Avni's time, but he's a good fighter of course and it's an excellent test for Avni. If you want to be the best, you have to fight the best available. We are not choosing opponents, we take what comes. 

"I saw Anthony fight Badou Jack. Anthony was the world champion and when this happens you have to do more, although it was close. Badou Jack showed more progress after this fight. He showed quality in his last fight against James DeGale. He surprised me and I did not expect this.

"Avni is still only 25 years old, he's improving with every fight and I'm convinced he can win the title and be champion for a long time. He loves boxing and wants to fight, he's in great condition and he has a good chin."

Yildirim, unbeaten in 14 starts and the holder of the WBC International Silver super middleweight title said: "Money isn't the issue. It's becoming the WBC green and gold Champion. It's something which I've always wanted and it's very hard to put into words. I want to be Turkey's first every boxing world champion. And in the future, I'm interested in moving up to light heavyweight and even cruiserweight."

Should a Yildirim-Dirrell fight take place that would leave Callum Smith facing TBA. However, the next available contender at number five in the WBC rankings is Australia's Zac Dunn, who is slated to face Britan's David Brophy in the first defence of his Commonwealth super middleweight title on March 17 in his homeland.

The remainder of the WBC top 10 reads as follows: #6 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (who will fight Canelo Alvarez on May 6). #7 Chris Eubank Jr (who fights for the IBO version on February 4 against holder Renold Quinlan). #8 Arthur Abraham, #9 Rogelio Medina and #10 Martin Murray.

Smith's promoter Eddie Hearn was unavailable for comment when we tried to contact him.