Canelo Alvarez is ready for his next challenge. The unified super middleweight champion will take on Avni Yildirim -- the WBC mandatory challenger -- on Feb. 27, from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Canelo and Matchroom Boxing announced on Thursday.
Alvarez claimed the WBA and vacant WBC super middleweight titles on Dec. 19 with a decision win over Callum Smith in Texas. The pound-for-pound great had been out of action for nearly a year due to the pandemic as well as contractual disputes with Golden Boy Promotions and streaming partner DAZN. However, Canelo also signed a two-fight agreement with Matchroom Boxing and promoter Eddie Hearn, which hosts its fights exclusively on DAZN in the U.S.
"Avni Yildirim is a good boxer and I know we will put on an exciting fight," Canelo said in a statement. "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, the 29-year-old from Turkey, has only lost twice as a pro. That includes his most recent bout against Anthony Dirrell in February 2019 when an accident headbutt in the 10th round ended the fight and sent it to the judges' scorecards. Yilidirim lost on points. His only other loss came in his only other bout against higher-level competition when he was knocked out by Chris Eubank Jr. in 2017.
"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," Hearn said. "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."