WBC President Says Pandemic Led To Canelo vs. Avni Yildirim

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman insists that Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim was the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yildirim was the mandatory WBC Super-Middleweight Title challenger. Standing in the way of major championship gold was Canelo, who holds the WBC, WBA (Super), and The Ring gold. Yildirim had been inactive since February 2019 and was coming off a loss. Canelo ended up successfully defending his titles via third-round TKO.

Sulaiman spoke to ESPN Deportes and responded to the criticism of Yildirim’s mandatory title opportunity. The WBC boss said it all boils down to the COVID-19 pandemic (h/t BoxingScene.com).

“The mandatory challenger rule is one that has worked through the years to bring justice to the sport and for mandatory challengers to have a title shot.

“This rule has not been revised in many, many years and there are times when the regulations limit you in legal matters because the official challenger receives rights. So when there are situations, that for some reason intervene in this mandatory procedure, we should have a review and update the process.

“In this case [with Yildirim] there was a situation that drastically changed, which was the inactivity generated by the pandemic and the effects of the pandemic itself. So we ended up ordering a fight with the official challenger so that his rights were respected.

“In this case, two years passed and it was not anyone’s fault, it was not the fault of Yildirim or the sanctioning body, but because of a pandemic. Before the pandemic, he was going to fight and they canceled the fight, these are the things that happened. We must have a recourse not to be totally backed against the wall by a regulation when extraordinary things happen.”

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