The 26 year-old from Stockholm enjoyed a successful year, which saw him claim the European Boxing Union (EBU) belt behind enemy lines before making two successive defences including a historic homecoming fight in Stockholm.
“It’s a great honour to receive this award,” said Yigit. “I’ve been training hard and fighting even harder to place myself among the best in the world. This is proof that I’m on the right path, and I thank the EBU for acknowledging my hard work.”
Behind Enemy Lines: Yigit defeats Daws to claim European title:
The Swedish southpaw faced a hostile crowd at the Westcroft Leisure Centre in Carshalton, England when he captured the vacant European Super Lightweight title with a punch perfect performance against British veteran Lenny Daws on February 11, 2017.
“It was a surreal feeling, stepping into the ring with a fighter I’d been following since I started boxing,” he recalls. “Daws is a true champion inside and outside the ring. He deserved to be crowned European Champion, and would have been if it wasn’t for that unfortunate disqualification against Nieto. I’ll always see him as the champion I had to beat to get the belt.”
By beating Daws, Yigit became the first Swede to win European honours since 1987, joining an elite group of Swedish fighters to have held the title including Harry Persson, Olle Tandberg, Ingemar Johansson, Anders Eklund, John Andersson and Bo Hogberg.
Historic Homecoming: Yigit makes first defence against Martin:
Yigit continued to write history by taking the title home and defending it against Sandor Martin in hard-fought contest at the Solnahallen in Stockholm on September 30, 2017.
Yigit’s maiden defence was the first time in over fifty years that the European title was contested on Swedish soil following Bo Hogberg’s unsuccessful attempt at Sandro Mazzinghi super welterweight strap on November 11, 1966.
“Brining the European belt back to Sweden and defending it on home soil is a dream I bet many Swedish fighters wish they could experience,” he says. “I had to make sure I deserved to be the man to do so, and I believe I did when me and Martin battled it out for 12 rounds giving this generation’s boxing fans the best bout they’ve seen on Swedish soil.”
On The Road Again: Yigit returns to UK for second defence:
Ending the year on a high, Yigit returned to the UK for a second defence of the EBU’s 140lb title, facing Wiltshire’s Joe Hughes in Leicester on December 2, 2017.
Topping the bill at the Leicester Arena, Yigit recorded another unanimous points win in an entertaining fight against the tough but ultimately outclassed British boxer Hughes.
“Hughes was a guy I couldn’t take for granted,” says Yigit. “I’d seen what he’d done to good fighters, and I had to make sure I wasn’t one of them to walk in to his trap. I believe we showcased good skill and sportsmanship, and a fight the British fans could enjoy!”
The Future: Yigit sets sights on World glory:
Looking to the future, Yigit has now set his sights on World glory, and with a number of exciting options in the pipeline for the Swedish star, it would seem only a matter of time before the London 2012 Olympian is challenging for World titles.
“I’m very happy to be in the position I’m in,” he says. “I’ve defended the European title twice so there’s no doubt I’m ready for greater things. I’m looking forward now and eyeing World titles. I believe I have what it takes to compete against the best at World level!”