By Aragon Garcia:  The World Boxing Council will be ordering WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) to defend against his mandatory Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) next, according to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.

Benavidez, 22, regained the WBC belt last Saturday in stopping super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) in the 9th round at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Dirrell, 34, was cut badly over his left eye, and worn down until the fight was stopped by his corner in round 9.

Benavidez must face Yildirim

Last year, Benavidez was stripped of his WBC 168-lb title after a doping violation. The 6’2″ Benavidez has since bounced back with stoppage wins over J’Leon Love and Dirrell to recapture his WBC belt.

“The winner [Dirrell vs. Benavidez] was obliged to fight with Avni Yildirim, who fought for the [WBC super middleweight] title with Dirrell (in February). It was a technical decision by a cut and a direct rematch was determined, but as the fight with Benavidez took place, the winner has to go against Yildirim,” said WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.

Benavidez could face WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith or IBF champion Caleb Plant next in a unification fight. If a match against either of those champions can be setup, Benavidez’s mandatory challenger Yildirim would have to sit and wait. Unification fights are allowed to come before mandatory defenses.

Benavidez wants Caleb Plant unification

At last Saturday’s post-fight news conference, Benavidez expressed interest in facing Plant (19-0, 11 KOs) in a unification fight. However, that fight might not be possible though, as Plant has other options.

Plant, 27, appeared to be unimpressed with what he saw from Benavidez last Saturday. On social media, Plant was in disbelief that Benavidez was previously considered as a threat to him. The two fighters have gone back and forth with trash talking in the past, and there’s bad blood between them.

Benavidez vs. Callum Smith an option

Callum Smith’s promoter Eddie Hearn said he would like to put together a unification bout between him and Benavidez. He says he wants the WBC to order Benavidez vs. Smith fight.

The 29-year-old Callum (26-0, 19 KOs) won the vacant WBC Diamond super middleweight title two years ago in defeating Erik Skoglund by a 12 round unanimous decision in September 2017.

Hearn says that Callum’s WBC Diamond title should allow him to face Benavidez. He wants the WBC to order the Benavidez-Callum fight. Other options for Callum are against these fighters:

  • WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders
  • Saul Canelo Alvarez
  • Gennady Golovkin