Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) defeated Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) by technical split decision for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight World Championship in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes from the Armory in Minneapolis.
Referee Mark Nelson stopped the contest in the tenth round due to an accidental clash of heads and a cut over Dirrell’s left eye with the decision going to the scorecards.
The scores were 96-94 X 2 for Dirrell, 98-92 for Yildirim.
“I was upset with the stoppage because I wanted finish the fight like a champion,” said Dirrell.
“It feels great getting my WBC belt back. We want to unify against Caleb Plant or any of the champions. I’m just going to go home, take some time, talk to my camp and then we’ll go from there. If the Benavidez fight comes calling then I’ll fight him.
“I thought I was winning this fight by more than what the judges had,” added Dirrell. “I was jabbing him and he was applying some pressure, but that’s just what he does. I won the fight though and that’s all that matters.”
Also on the card, Minneapolis-native Jamal James (25-1, 12 KOs) scored a crowd-pleasing technical knockout win over Janer Gonzalez (19-2-1, 15 KOs). Midway through the sixth stanza, James appeared to drop Gonzalez with a straight overhand right, but referee Gary Miezwa declared it a slippage.
Near the end of the sixth round, James landed another knockdown and this time it counted and hurt Gonzalez. At the close of round six, Gonzalez went to his corner and never came out with the fight being declared a sixth-round stoppage as Gonzalez was unable to answer the bell for the seventh round.