Avni Yildirim tests positive for two performance-enhancing drugs

Super middleweight contender Avni Yildirim has tested positive for two performance-enhancing drugs, likely destroying his chances of getting the mandatory shot at a 168-pound world title he was supposed to have in his next fight.

The WBC said Thursday that on Sept. 26 the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association reported that the A sample collected from Yildirim on Sept. 13 at his training camp in Big Bear Lake, California, in connection with a random collection under the WBC Clean Boxing Program, was positive for the banned steroids DHCMT and methylclostebol.

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs), 28, of Turkey, is the WBC mandatory challenger for its super middleweight world title and was supposed to challenge titleholder David Benavidez in a fight penciled in for early 2020.

Benavidez stopped Anthony Dirrell in the ninth round on Saturday night in Los Angeles on the Errol Spence Jr.-Shawn Porter undercard to regain the belt he had previously held but had been stripped of for testing positive for cocaine in a random test.

When Dirrell-Benavidez was made, it was done with the winner knowing that he would be ordered to next have to defend against Yildirim.

Yildirim lost a disputed 10th-round technical split decision to Dirrell for the vacant title on Feb. 23 in Minneapolis, when Dirrell suffered a bad cut from an accidental head-butt and was unable to continue. Yildirim sought an immediate rematch, but the WBC allowed Dirrell to first meet Benavidez, whose suspension had ended and who had returned with a victory.

"In light of the finding, and as part of the WBC's results management duties, the WBC has undertaken an investigation of the facts that resulted in the finding, including, but not limited to the: (1) circumstances surrounding the finding; and (2) history and properties of the substance(s) revealed by the finding," the WBC said in a statement. "In addition, Avni Yildirim and his team voluntarily agreed to hold an immediate evaluation meeting with an expert scientist approved by the WBC to conduct an in-depth analysis of the situation at hand.

"The WBC considers those steps necessary to achieve a conclusion of the matter consistent with the WBC rules and regulations and with the WBC CBP protocol."

The WBC said it would make an announcement "in the near future" about the results of its investigation and how it would handle the situation.