The WBC Board of Governors voted 36-1 to order Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs Avni Yildirim
As the multi-division world champion, who holds the WBC Franchise designation to fight against the WBC’s mandatory contender of the division, Canelo (53-1-2, 36KOs) used his right to challenge Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12KOs) for the vacant WBC super-middlewieght title.
British boxers Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14KO) and Callum Smith (27-0,) had each hoped to face the Mexican in their next fights, as well as put their names in the hat for the vacant WBC 168lbs prize that had just become free after former champion David Benavidez lost the belt on the scales - he came in overweight for his title defence to Roamer Alexis Angulo in Connecticut on August 15, winning the contest via 10th-round TKO.
Islington's John Ryder (28-5-0 16KOs) was also interested in the fight, and would have deserved after his fantastic performance against Callum Smith last November, where he was unlucky not to get a fairer hearing on the scorecards.
Saunders had confirmed a Cinco de Mayo fight with Canelo, but then COVID-19 struck and the oportunity was pushed back. When the chance came around again, the offer on the tabe for BJS, a two-weight world champion, was far less than before and family issues had prevented him being ready in time for any fight around September time.
He previously said, "I’m not ready in September. You can say to me, ‘Billy Joe, a billion pounds, but you’re not ready and you’re going to get beat’. I would say, 'Keep it'.
"Let me get ready, let me win and I will fight for free. I’m nobody’s stepping stone. I’m not another belt for Canelo. They want to try mind games; that don’t work with me, I play the biggest mind games in British boxing."
Instead, the 'Golden Ticket' has been awarded to Turkey's 'Mr Robot', trained by Ahmet Oner, who was a decorated amateur in his homeland, also boxing in the World Amateur Championships in 2013. As a pro, has collected five different WBC baubles - the Youth Intercontinental; International Silver, Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council - all at light-heavyweight - and the WBC International Silver and the full WBC International belt at super-middleweight, which is how he attained his lofty status at no.1 with the World Boxing Council - see WBC's rankings for July HERE
Following the WBC official announcement, Avni's Promoter And Trainer Ahmet Oner said, “Avni Yildirim was very happy when he received the confirmation that he is ordered to fight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for the vacant WBC World Supermiddleweight Championship.”
Avni added, “I am a boxer, and boxers always want to fight the best. I want to thank the WBC and my promoter Ahmet Öner for his support and for giving me this opportunity.
“I hope that I can live up to expectations. I know what I am capable of and I know Canelo from sparring sessions. The whole world knows that he is an outstanding fighter, one of the best pound-for-pound at the moment.
“His resume speaks for itself. We all know it. I don’t want to talk too much about him and his qualities. After all he’s a human being just like me. All I can say is that I will prepare in the best possible way to give him a great fight. And then we’ll see what happens.”
Pound-for-pound superstar Canelo hasn't lost a fight since his defeat to Floyd Mayweather (50-0) in 2013, currently on a 12-fight unbeaten streak scalping some of the world's biggest boxing names over a variety of different weight categories.
More details will be available in days to come.