Frank Sanchez: I’m Ready For A Big Name – Parker, Wilder, Hrgovic, Zhang Or Dubois

Boxing Scene

Frank Sanchez wants to return to Saudi Arabia as soon as possible to fight “a big name” in the heavyweight division.

The 31-year-old Cuban contender stopped New Zealand’s Junior Fa in the seventh round on the Anthony Joshua-Otto Wallin undercard December 23 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh. Sanchez (24-0, 17 KOs) hopes that impressive victory over Fa (20-3, 11 KOs) moves him into a more meaningful fight on the Joshua-Francis Ngannou undercard March 8 at Kingdom Arena.

“I’m highly rated and ready for a big name the public knows – Parker, Wilder, Hrgovic, Zhang or Dubois,” Sanchez told BoxingScene.com. “I will beat them all with ease. The better my opponent is, the better I am.”

New Zealand’s Joseph Parker, a former WBO champ, upset Wilder, an ex-WBC champ from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, by unanimous decision on the Joshua-Wallin show late last month. Parker’s win ruined the Joshua-Wilder fight that was planned for March 8.

London’s Daniel Dubois defeated Brooklyn’s Jarrell Miller by unanimous decision on that card as well. Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic blew out overmatched Australian veteran Mark De Mori in the opening round as part of the “Day of Reckoning” event.

China’s Zhilei Zhang, the WBO interim champion, didn’t compete on the December 23 card. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported recently, however, that Zhang could be matched with Wilder as part of the Joshua-Ngannou show.

Regardless, Sanchez is open to facing any of the abovementioned heavyweights.

“With some luck, I will be back in Saudi Arabia to fight one of these names in March,” Sanchez said. “At first, I didn’t know what to expect. But I have been to Saudi twice in two months and the country is beautiful, the food is good, and the people are friendly. I am excited to return.”

Sanchez, who is trained by Eddy Reynoso, appreciates that these lucrative opportunities have become available since the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia began fully funding high-profile pay-per-view events late last year.

“The big names are finally fighting the big names,” Sanchez said. “His excellency, Turki Alalshikh, is responsible for the resurgence of heavyweight boxing. Look at all of the ‘Day of Reckoning’ fights and now [Tyson] Fury versus [Oleksandr] Usyk and Joshua versus Ngannou. Who else could have done this? I can’t remember when heavyweight boxing has been so exciting, and it is because of Turki Alalshikh.”

England’s Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) and Ukraine’s Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) are set to fight February 17 at Kingdom Arena. Unless their bout results in a draw or a no-contest, Fury, the WBC champ, or Usyk, who owns the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts, will emerge from their pay-per-view main event as boxing’s first fully unified heavyweight champion of the four-belt era.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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