Is Avni Yildirim’s career done?
Two-time WBC super middleweight title challenger Avni “Mr. Robot” Yildirim (21-4, 12ko) suffered a demoralizing loss to British fighter Jack “Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver” Cullen (20-2-1, 9ko) on July 31, 2021. This latest defeat has officially placed his career in the graveyard. The 29-year-old Turkish fighter was looking to revitalize his career by moving down to the middleweight division. As things did not go according to plan, Yildirim has to make a tough decision.
First off, the fight with Cullen was at a catchweight of 164 pounds. Fighters will often do that to ease themselves into moving down at a comfortable pace. Furthermore, he had changed trainers, leaving Joel Diaz for one of the top Cuban trainers in Pedro Diaz. Mr. Robot even adapted a new attitude, and he was looking to make a splash by sending a message to all the champions at the middleweight division. Unfortunately, he flamed out like a fire without oxygen as Cullen dominated the fight with sharp, crisp combination punches.
Yildirim was having trouble with the rapid-fire piston jab and he was getting tagged with the right uppercut in close quarters. Cullen was able to do whatever he wanted and even staggered the two-time title challenger with counter left hooks. Yildirim was able to land hard right hands, but they did not have any effect on Cullen. The British fighter continued to build everything off the jab, taking advantage of Yildirim keeping his head on the centerline.
When the final bell sounded, the judge’s scorecards were 98-92, 100-90, and 97-93 in favor of Jack Cullen. Moreover, he won the vacant IBF International super middleweight title, as well.
THE NAIL IN THE COFFIN?
Yildirim will have to take a deep, hard look into the mirror and ask that one question all fighters have been faced with: “Do I keep on fighting?” Make no mistake, this was a devastating loss. Furthermore, his goal of making a run for a championship is done, as he is now a legitimate journeyman.
Avni Yildirim has now lost three fights in a row. He lost two consecutive WBC championship fights. Once against Anthony Dirrell back in 2019, then, after a two-year hiatus, again to mega-star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2021. Canelo brutally knocked him out in the third round.
Yildirim was looking to put all that behind him and this was to be his last chance at keeping his career off life support. It will be interesting to see what the Turkish fighter decides to do next.
By: Garrisson Bland