Fast-rising light heavyweight star Avni Yildirim has turned down an offer to represent Turkey at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The Turkish Boxing Federation called the outstanding 24-year-old former amateur standout, and offered him the possibility to participate in a qualification tournament either at 81 or 91 kg.
“We immediately said no”, states promoter Ahmet Oener. “Avni is a prizefighter. He’s a professional. His amateur days are over. He has only one goal in his mind – and that is to become WBC World Champion. He wants the Green and Gold belt. The Olympic boxing tournament should be strictly for amateurs as it has always been. Avni is way past that stage.
“There is no point in mixing a guy who has been in ten- and twelve-round wars with inexperienced amateurs.”
Yildirim successfully defended his WBC Silver International title last Friday in Berlin, Germany, when he stopped Brazil’s Jackson Junior in two rounds.
“If Avni can easily hurt a guy like Jackson who has had 25 pro fights, just imagine what he would do to young kids coming to the Olympic Games with no comparable experience”, warned Oener.
The Turkish contender will probably return to action end of May at a small show in Munich before returning to the United States in the summer, where he beat ring veteran Glen Johnson last August by unanimous decision.