Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez will defend his WBC, WBA Super and Ring Magazine World Super-Middleweight titles against Avni Yidirim on Saturday February 27 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, live on DAZN in over 200 countries and territories (excluding Mexico) or on cable/satellite pay-per-view in the U.S. and Canada.
Canelo (54-1-2 36 KOs) cemented himself as one of the pound-for-pound fighter in the world and the top dog in the 168-pound division with a dominant win over previously unbeaten Briton Callum Smith in San Antonio, Texas in December with the WBA, vacant WBC and Ring Magazine belts on the line in front of a sold-out socially distanced crowd in the Lone Star state.
The Mexican star declared after the fight his desire to become the undisputed champion at Super-Middleweight, but before targeting the remaining belts, the four weight World ruler must deal with his dangerous WBC mandatory Yildirim at the home of the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes.
“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 (21-2 12 KOs) has been biding his time to fight for the WBC title once again, having been frustrated in his last outing when his clash for the vacant crown with Anthony Dirrell in Minnesota in February 2019, with the clash ending in a technical decision win for Dirrell after he suffered a cut over his eye.
The 29 year old challenger will be aiming to shock the world two years on from that disappointment and does so in his third fight in the States and second in Miami, having beaten the ‘Road Warrior’ Glen Johnson in August 2015, and the Turkish star returns to the Sunshine State for the biggest night of his career.
“I am honored as a mandatory to fight again for the big green belt – thank you to everyone who is involved,” said Yildirim. “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.”
Following a great night in San Antonio, Canelo teams up with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn for a two-fight deal starting with the clash with Yildirim, and Hearn is excited to develop the relationship with Canelo and his Ring Magazine trainer of the year and manager Eddy Reynoso.
“It is an absolute honor to promote the pound-for-pound number one and I’m so excited to head to Miami and the home of the Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium,” said Hearn. “Even in a pandemic, Saúl is looking to be more active than ever and in his plan to be undisputed he must overcome his mandatory challengers to keep his belt. Yildirim is the first of those challenges who will be attempting to dethrone the king on February 27. We look forward to a huge night of boxing on DAZN and the start of a huge year for Canelo.”
The Big Drama Show is back! Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, boxing’s most dominant middleweight of his era, returns to the ring looking to make even more history when he attempts to make a division-record 21st successful defense of his World Middleweight titles. Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, has worn a world championship belt every year since 2010. He will be making a mandatory title defense against undefeated top-rated contender Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs), from Biaylstok, Poland, Friday, Dec. 18, behind closed doors at Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. The Golovkin-Szeremeta IBF/IBO Middleweight World Championship fight, and its action-packed undercard bouts, will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN in over 200 countries and territories.
“This is not just any fight,” Golovkin said. “It is a fight with great meaning. “I always have the greatest respect for all of my opponents. I have really missed boxing and I wanted to fight this year. The goal — fighting for a record twenty-first successful world title defense.”
“I want this title for Poland and my family. GGG is a great champion, one of the best in history, but it is time for replacement. Thank you for the great chance, I must take my opportunity to be the first world middleweight champion from Poland,” Szeremeta said.
Golovkin, who shares the record for consecutive World Middleweight title defenses, returns to the ring in his second reign as World Middleweight Champion. In a battle of former Olympic medalists, Golovkin regained the IBF middleweight title on Oct. 5, 2019, with a unanimous decision victory over Sergiy Derevyanchenko, a hellacious toe-to-toe slugfest that had the frenzied crowd at Madison Square Garden on its feet for the entire 12 rounds. Many considered it the Fight of the Year. Golovkin’s Big Drama Show has packed iconic arenas around the world, selling out Madison Square Garden, The O2 in London, the Fabulous Forum and StubHub Center in Los Angeles, and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This will be his first time fighting in the Sunshine State. His decade-long rampage on the middleweight division has also attracted millions of viewers who have watched him on premium cable, pay-per-view, and DAZN.
Now Golovkin faces his second consecutive top-rated contender in Szeremeta. The former EBU European middleweight champion, eight years younger than the defending world champion, enters this fight like a hurricane gathering strength, having won three of his last five fights by knockout, including a second-round stoppage of Oscar Cortes on the undercard of Golovkin-Derevyanchenko. His reign as EBU European middleweight champion included victories over Alessandro Goddi, Ruben Diaz and Andrew Francillette, who had a combined record of 79-4-4 when he fought them — a winning percentage of 91%.
Dmitry Bivol says that he is willing to drop down to Super-Middleweight to face World champion Callum Smith and become a two-weight World champion as he plots his future in the latest episode of Matchroom Boxing’s Podcast ‘The Lockdown Tapes’.
Bivol (17-0 11 KOs) has held the WBA Light-Heavyweight crown for over two and a half years with six successful defenses over that time, and the Russian ace has been chasing a major showdown with the likes of fellow countryman and champion Artur Beterbiev.
The 29-year-old’s appetite for a crunch clash has also caused his eyes to look to the 168lbs division too, where an old amateur foe Callum Smith holds the WBA and Ring Magazine belts, and one of boxing’s elite draws, Canelo Alvarez, has also operated recently.
Bivol’s preference is to remain at 175 pounds and unify the division first, but he’s put the Super-Middleweight division on red alert by asserting that he could make the weight with ease.
“I watch a lot of fights in my division,” said Bivol. “I know that Beterbiev is one of the more dangerous fighters because he is really strong. If I were to fight Beterbiev I would like it to be in the USA because more people can see this fight than if I fight in Russia.
“Canelo at Super-Middleweight is a big fight but everyone wants to fight him. He is just a man, he is just a boxer. You can earn money with him and it is a good opportunity to show your boxing skills to the whole world because of his massive fan base.
“I would prefer the fight at 175 pounds as it’s my weight but I could move down to 168 pounds, that’s not a big problem for me. I had breakfast before my last fight on weigh-in day and think I have the reserves to come down.
“I boxed Callum Smith in Hungary as an amateur and to be honest I don’t remember this fight at all! At the time, he was just a tall guy, with good skills from Great Britain and I had to beat him. I think in the pro’s if we were to fight now it would be great for the British and Russian fans. It is a good fight for boxing because he is a champion at 168 pounds and I am a champion at 175 pounds. I want to fight the best in the world and he is now one of the best.”
Photo: Matchroom Boxing
On November 2 in Las Vegas, unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is looking to add to his legacy when he goes up two weight classes to battle WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Because of his age(36) and his inability to take sustained work to the body, many believe that Kovalev will lose to Alvarez.
According to former world champion Timothy Bradley, Alvarez is moving up because Kovalev is not the fighter he used to be.
“Canelo is a smaller guy coming up to this weight class,” Bradley recently said. “He’s going to take that risk because Kovalev is kind of “watered down” a little bit. He’s been a little “long in the tooth,” so I think that’s the reason why he’s taking that risk.
“He sees an opportunity to break Kovalev down to the body. That’s his specialty, so he’s willing to take that risk and go up to fight at 175 pounds against a guy like that.”
It seems that this could be a one-fight thing for Canelo at 175, but if Alvarez does stick around at 175, fighting unified light heavy champion Artur Beterbiev, who stopped Oleksandr Gwozdyk on Friday, is a bad idea, according to Bradley.
“I don’t think so. I don’t think he wants that,” Bradley said. “I really don’t think Canelo wants that, that’s pain.”
Canelo’s move to 175 is similar to Roy Jones’ move to heavyweight to fight John Ruiz back in 2003. Jones did not try to fight Lennox Lewis, who was a belt holder at that time, he wanted to fight a guy he knew was beatable, and obviously, Alvarez is not going after Beterbiev. He is fighting a guy that he believes is beatable as well. We’ll see if that is the case on November 2.
Photo: Top Rank/Mikey Williams
As his career winds down, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev hopes to beat the cash cow in the sport of boxing when he battles unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on November 2 in Las Vegas.
While he is moving up two weight classes, Alvarez is the favorite in this fight, and part of the reason that he is the favorite is that many believe Kovalev is slowing down, but the last time we saw him, he was able to stop Anthony Yarde. However, before stopping Yarde, Kovalev was almost stopped himself in that fight, and like others, including Andre Ward, Yarde had a lot of success going to Kovalev’s body.
Even with the evidence, the 36-year-old Kovalev believes that his vulnerability to the body is a myth.
“Why everybody thinks that I have a problem with the body shot?” Kovalev said on a conference call on Tuesday. “Why? I never was attacked by body shot, you know.”
When reminded about the second fight with Ward(Kovalev stopped by body shots), Kovalev had this to say.
“Second fight Andre Ward was a low blow, low blow,” he said. “It wasn’t a punch to the body. Was a low blow. I said already like after the fight, it was a low blow.”
Of course, Kovalev is not going to admit that he issues dealing with body shots, but it’s clear that Kovalev does not like it to the body, and Canelo is a vicious body puncher. So, expect Alvarez to spend a lot of time going to Kovalev’s body on November 2, and if he can handle it, maybe Kovalev walks out of the ring still a champion.
Photo/courtesy: David Spagnolo/Main Events