With David Benavidez losing his WBC super middleweight title due to a failed drug test, Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim are set to fight for the vacant world title.
The two boxers will fight in the main event of a PBC card on FS1 that will take place February 23 at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The fight was one of several world title fights announced in a press event in Los Angeles that revealed the full 2019 schedule for PBC cards on both FOX and FS1.
The previous champion was Benavidez, who tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the central compound in cocaine. During the WBC convention earlier this year, the governing body suspended him until February 2019 and moved him from world champion to "Champion in Recess," meaning there is no WBC champion at 168 pounds. It was at that point that the WBC ordered both Dirrell and Yildirim.
Yildirim has been very active in the ring since losing to Chris Eubank Jr. in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight quarterfinals in 2017. Yildirim has won his last five fights, capturing the WBC International super middleweight belt.
Dirrell previously held the WBC world title at 168 pounds from 2014 to 2015, beating Sakio Bika to win the belt. Dirrell would go on to lose to Badou Jack in his first world title and has since then won his last fivve bouts. The 34-year-old Dirrell has not fought since a unanimous decision victory over Abraham Han back in April.