Benavidez-Yildirim “penciled in” for January 25th

The long, strange saga of David Benavidez vs. Avni Yildirim will finally come to an end on January 25. The bout was originally meant to co-headline a FOX PPV led by Errol Spence Jr. vs. Danny Garcia, but Spence is still in recovery from a car accident.

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KO) received a title shot this past February when Benavidez (22-0, 19 KO), then the WBC super middleweight champion, failed a drug test for cocaine and was named “champion in recess.” Yildirim went on to lose a close technical decision for the vacant title to Anthony Dirrell, who was planning to face Benavidez before the cocaine thing, and the former’s appeal gave him first crack at the Benavidez-Dirrell winner.

That turned out to be “El Bandera Roja” via ninth-round stoppage. Then Yildirim failed his own drug test for two separate steroids.

Luckily for the Turkish veteran, the WBC cleared him of wrongdoing, and he now gets to fight one of the scariest young men in boxing for his troubles. Benavidez looks to have practically every edge, but it’ll be damn fun while it lasts.