Frank Sanchez will resume his normal schedule without breaking stride even after losing his originally scheduled opponent.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Miami’s Sanchez will now face Germany’s Christian Hammer in the co-feature of the all-heavyweight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event this Saturday from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Hammer replaces Puerto Rico’s Carlos Negron (25-3, 20KOs), who was forced to withdraw from the show after testing positive for Covid.
The test results were learned Tuesday morning, as first reported by El Nuevo Herald. BoxingScene.com has learned that Negron—a member of the 2008 Puerto Rico Olympic boxing team who now lives and trains in Miami—is symptomatic and currently in isolation.
symptomatic and currently in isolation.
No other team member was affected as of Tuesday morning. Negron regularly trains and spars with two-time heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27KOs), who faces former IBF heavyweight titlist Charles Martin in the main event. Ortiz and Negron are both trained by German Caicedo.
Hammer was available as a standby opponent on the card, traveling to the U.S. along with stablemate Viktor Vhykryst (8-0, 6KOs) who faces Iago Kiladze (27-5-1, 19KOs) on the PPV undercard. Another member of their camp, Ali Eren Demirezen (14-1, 11KOs) faces former title challenger Gerald Washington (20-4-1, 13KOs) as part of the five-fight telecast.
The fight comes just eleven weeks after Hammer suffered a fifth-round injury stoppage to Hughie Fury. Hammer was unable to continue after suffering a biceps injury which has since fully healed. The fight was his third since the pandemic, beginning with a ten-round points loss to 2016 Olympic Gold medalist and current rising heavyweight Tony Yoka last November, followed by a bounce back third-round knockout this past May in Cologne, Germany.
With event handlers securing Hammer on short notice, Sanchez (19-0, 13KOs) gets to still enjoy a quick turnaround. The former Cuban amateur standout—now based out of Miami and who trains in Eddy Reynoso’s facility in San Diego—is coming off his best win to date, a ten-round decision over Efe Ajagba in their battle of heavyweight prospects on October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Saturday’s bout will mark the fifth in a span of just under 14 months for Sanchez, a stablemate of pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-1-2, 38KOs).
Sanchez, Negron and Ortiz all fought in separate bouts on the same Fox telecast last November at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, the first fight for all three heavyweights since the pandemic. Sanchez stopped Brian Howard in the fourth round of their bout on the show.
The early exit prompted a quick return to the ring just six weeks later. Sanchez earned his second straight win inside the distance, scoring a seventh-round stoppage of Julian Fernandez on the undercard of a DAZN telecast last December 19 at Alamodome in San Antonio. The card was headlined by Alvarez, who soundly outpointed then-unbeaten Callum Smith to win the WBA “Super” and vacant WBC super middleweight titles.
Sanchez also appeared on the undercard of Alvarez’s eighth-round stoppage of undefeated Billy Joe Saunders to unify the WBA/WBC/WBO titles this past May at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. For his part, Sanchez was forced to settle for a technical unanimous decision win over Nagy Aguilera, who claimed he could no longer continue after absorbing a right hand to the back of his head.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox