Canelo returns in December: Mexican superstar to take on British fighter Smith in USA

By Sports Desk November 17, 2020

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will return to the ring against British challenger Callum Smith on December 19, it has been revealed.

Mexican superstar Alvarez has not fought since he became a four-weight world champion last November, stopping Sergey Kovalev in round 11 of their WBO light-heavyweight title clash.

Since then he has split from Golden Boy Promotions and proposed fights have not come to fruition, including a clash with Billy Joe Saunders that had looked set to happen in September.

There had been reports he planned a return against IBF super-middleweight champion Caleb Plant, but it will be fellow 30-year-old Smith (27-0) who opposes Alvarez (53-1-2) for the WBA super-middleweight belt.

Both currently hold WBA belts in the division, with Smith the 'super' champion and Alvarez the 'regular' champion.

Alvarez wrote on Twitter: "I'll be returning to the ring on December 19th to face Callum Smith."

Alvarez's previous promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, in February claimed Smith had turned down the chance to fight the man regarded by many as the best active pound-for-pound boxer.

In September 2016, Alvarez beat Smith's older brother, Liam Smith, by ninth-round knockout in a WBO light-middleweight title fight in Arlington, Texas.

Reports have indicated Arlington is again in the frame to stage next month's fight, with Smith's promoter, Matchroom's Eddie Hearn, confirming it would go ahead in the United States.

Smith said: "I've been wanting a big fight since becoming world champion, so I'm so pleased that during these challenging times we can deliver to the fans a fight between the very best in the division.

"I truly believe I beat him and will prove that 168lbs is my division."

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    Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will be back in the ring on February 27, defending his WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim.  

    Canelo claimed the belts in December, handing Callum Smith his first career defeat as he recorded a unanimous points triumph over the Englishman in San Antonio, Texas.  

    Now the Mexican superstar will head to Florida for his next outing, the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens chosen to stage the clash with Yildirim.  

    While keen to eventually unify the 168-pound division, the 30-year-old must first deal with his mandatory challenger for the WBC strap.  

    "Avni Yildirim is a good boxer and I know we will put on an exciting fight," said Canelo.   

    "I'm very glad that we are able to bring this event to Miami, a short distance from where my hero, Muhammad Ali, trained.   

    "February 27 will be a great night for the sport."

    Yildirim, who owns a 21-2 record as a pro, previously challenged for the vacant WBC belt in February 2019, losing via a technical decision after opponent Anthony Dirrell suffered a cut that forced their bout to be stopped.  

    However, the 29-year-old - whose other loss came against Chris Eubank Jr in 2017 - is ready to go to war as he aims to cause a huge upset.  

    "I am honoured as a mandatory to fight again for the big green belt - thank you to everyone who is involved," Yildirim said in a press release to announce the date. 

    "I always give my all – and everybody should be ready to see a war. I am coming to make my country proud – I am representing the whole of Turkey."

  • Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone Kovalev v Melikuziev off after former champ tests positive for testosterone

    Sergey Kovalev's bout against Bektemir Melikuziev has been cancelled after the former three-time light-heavyweight world champion failed a drugs test.

    Kovalev returned a positive for synthetic testosterone via a test carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    The scheduled fight card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indo, California has been pulled by Golden Boy Promotions as a result.

    A statement released by Golden Boy read: "The Kovalev vs Melikuziev boxing event scheduled for January 30 has been cancelled following a positive test for a banned substance (synthetic testosterone) on behalf of Sergey Kovalev through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

    "Upon learning of Kovalev's adverse finding, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) determined that they must cancel the event."

    Kovalev has not fought since losing his WBO light-heavyweight title in an 11th-round knockout defeat to Canelo Alvarez in November 2019, a setback that dropped the 37-year-old's professional record to 34 victories (29 knockouts), four defeats and a solitary draw.

    Counting from his first career loss, when Andre Ward edged a close points verdict against Kovalev in 2016, the Russian has won four and lost four of his past eight fights, with the three subsequent losses all coming by stoppage.

    He was scheduled to box former world title challenger Sullivan Barrera on April 25 last year but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that, as it did the original plans for the meeting against Uzbekistan's 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) to take place in Moscow.

  • Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6 Whyte-Povetkin rematch confirmed for March 6

    The heavyweight rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte has been officially confirmed for March 6.

    Povetkin knocked out Whyte in the fifth round of their WBC interim title bout last August and the pair were originally set to meet again in late November at Wembley Arena.

    However, the fight was postponed after the Russian was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

    Promoters Matchroom Boxing has announced a new date has now been set, with the rematch now scheduled for around seven weeks' time.

    The card will take place behind closed doors at a venue that has yet to be confirmed.

    After being laid low by coronavirus last year, Povetkin recently stepped up his training regime as he looks to retain the WBC interim heavyweight title with another victory over Whyte.

    World of Boxing Promotions Company, who represent the 41-year-old, posted on Twitter on Friday: "Alexander has fully recovered and started his training camp on January 12. 

    "He is progressing well in the first stage of his preparation. We hope the second fight will live up to everyone's expectations and that Povetkin will deliver another spectacular finish."

    The winner of the rematch will be in line to face either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua later in 2021 for the heavyweight world title.

    Meanwhile, it was also confirmed on Friday that Josh Warrington, who has not been in action since October 2019, will defend his IBF featherweight belt against Mauricio Lara on February 13.

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