Mauricio Sulaimán: “I’m Excited That Canelo Petitioned To Fight Yildirim”

WBC President Defends Alvarez v Yildirim Bout

Mauricio Sulaimán (left) with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez
Mauricio Sulaimán (left) with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez

WBC President Defends Alvarez v Yildirim Bout

When Avni “Mr. Robot” Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO’s) was announced as WBA super world and regular WBA world super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s (53-1-2, 36 KO’s) next opponent, it was largely rejected by the boxing public.

Outside of his lone bout with Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (33-2-1, 24), you’d be hard pressed to find a handful of folks who have seen more than two of Yildirim’s fights. For this reason, Mr. Robot does not seem to embody the type of ‘mega match-up’ that the Franchise ‘champion’ is supposed to pursue. Yet, here we are.


The harsh rebukes from the boxing public have successfully found their way to the ears of WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán. Sulaimán fully understands the bout is disagreeable to the fans. Yet, as he explained to Boxing Social, it is merely the result of playing by the rules.

“Anvi Yildirim has been the mandatory contender for a long time. Why? Because he fought [Anthony] Dirrell for the title and the fight ended in a controversial stoppage due to a cut. And Yildirim was coming strong in the last rounds and then the fight stopped because it was a big cut. We go to the scorecards and he loses a split decision.

The WBC accepted to order a rematch after a voluntary defense by Dirrell. Dirrell loses the title to Benavidez, so Yildirim remains as the mandatory. So he accepted a step aside to allow Benavidez to do one fight. The pandemic came, that fight could not take place in Arizona and now it took place and Yildirim is a man who had rights to compete for the championship.”


In the end, no one is really worried about the mandatory challenger getting his shot at the title. That’s not the real elephant in the room. Figuring out why the sport’s poster boy and current financial cash cow is fighting ‘Johnny Who’s-That?’ for a vacant title is the real issue. Hell, even without his recently stripped belt, Alvarez v David “Red Flag” Benavidez (23-0, 20 KO’s) is still by far a better fight.

Not to mention, Benavidez is lightyears more marketable than Yildirim. Nevertheless, Team Alvarez made the conscious effort to request this unsavory and generally unwanted fight. Sulaimán is aware of this and how it looks. However, rather than deal with the gripe head on, the seasoned boxing figure flipped it back on the fans.

“Absolutely not. I am very disappointed about the fan’s lack of understanding. Of course, fans do not know the rules, and they don’t follow, they just like to watch the fights, follow the names and go by popular demand…I am sure that it’s going to be an entertaining event, entertaining fight.

I don’t know what to tell to the fans, what they would have expected, what they want to see. The reality is Avni Yildirim is the mandatory contender and Canelo Alvarez is the highest attraction in the world of boxing. So, I don’t understand but I respect anyone’s feelings.”


When the WBC initially thrust the nonsensical concept title known as the ‘Franchise champion’ onto the public, it was ridiculed and rejected. The very idea of it was confusing from the start and has never achieved anymore clarity or purpose.

Yet, Sulaimán defended the creation by insisting that its sole purpose was to facilitate making the biggest fights possible. So it’s no wonder that people are scratching their heads while the WBC backs the biggest entity in the sport to fight a virtual unknown for a vacant belt. Just doesn’t sound like the things dream are made of!

“[Alvarez] He is the ‘Franchise champion’ and with that he has rights and exclusive possibilities. That is the reason of the Franchise designation. And he wants to fight for the 168 pound and win that title to add it to the super welterweight and middleweight title that he already won in the WBC in his history. So I am proud, I am honored! I am very excited that Canelo has petitioned to fight Yildirim.”

By: Bakari Simpson

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