The WBC has a new super middleweight champion in Anthony Dirrell, but his title win over Avni Yildirim was anticlimactic to say the least.
In the middle of a competitive and action-packed title bout, the fight was suddenly stopped in the 10th round due to a ringside doctor believing that a cut above Dirrell’s left eye was too deep to let him continue. The cut was due to an accidental clash of heads and as a result, Dirrell won the vacant title with a technical split decision (96-94, 96-94, 92-98) in the main event of a PBC on FS1 card from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The two boxers were relentless in attacking each as they threw more than 1,500 combined punches and landed more than 500 total shots. Dirrell lunged forward towards Yildirim in the seventh round and the two clashed heads, but it was Dirrell who suffered the cut. In the 10th round, the referee stopped the action while Dirrell was getting checked out by a doctor and was ruled unable to continue.
Bizarrely enough, this is the second time in his last three fights that Dirrell won a fight by technical decision. Back in late 2017, Dirrell won a technical decision over Denis Douglin after he received a cut due to an accidental clash of heads. The previous WBC titleholder is David Benavidez, who is currently “Champion in Recess” after failing a drug test last year.
This is Dirrell’s second reign with the WBC title after winning the belt in August 2014 and then losing it to Badou Jack the following year in his first title defense. Dirrell joins fellow champions Caleb Plant (IBF), Callum Smith (WBA “Super”), Canelo Alvarez (WBA “Regular”) and Gilberto Ramirez (WBO) as 168-pound titleholders.