The undefeated heavyweight prefers to do his talking with his fists when he meets hard-hitting Efe Ajagba Saturday night on the Fury-Wilder 3 undercard, live on pay-per-view.
Frank Sanchez keeps his answers short and to the point, leaving you with the feeling that he would rather be someplace else. He understands it is, like roadwork on a dark, rainy morning, part of his job. When asked to elaborate, his answer, again, is short and to the point. “I’d rather do my talking in the ring.”
Sanchez (18-0, 13 KOs) meets Efe Ajagba (15-0, 12 KOs) in a highly anticipated 10-round co-main event on the undercard of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder showdown Saturday, October 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, live on FOX Sports & ESPN+ pay-per-view (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
In a stacked undercard that includes Robert Helenius against Adam Kownacki in a rematch of one of 2020’s best fights, and a clash between undefeated heavyweight prospects, Jared Anderson and Vladimir Tereshkin, the Sanchez-Ajagba fight might be the most intriguing.
Ajagba, at 6-foot-6 with an 85-inch reach, has a two-inch height and seven-inch reach advantage over Sanchez and is widely believed to be the harder puncher of the two. But Sanchez has as many stoppages as Ajagba over the past two years and scored a stoppage over Brian Howard in nearly the same round as Ajagba did.
“I know what he can do,” Sanchez said. “I can do more than him.”
Sanchez has shown a wide range of skills and versatility in his recent fights. He can fight coming forward, behind hard combinations. And he has displayed some of the best footwork in the heavyweight division since Larry Holmes danced circles around Earnie Shavers.
Sanchez knows that a win will put him shoulder-to-shoulder with those next in line for a title shot. He’s been waiting for this moment ever since he was a youth in Cuba watching Evander Holyfield fights. “I hope to get a title shot next year but right now I know that I have to beat Efe.”
Ajagba has similar hopes and has been waiting for an opportunity of this magnitude just as long as Sanchez has been. Having turned pro less than two months apart, Sanchez and Ajagba are meeting in a classic crossroads match. It’s rare to see two undefeated heavyweights with so much promise facing each other in an undercard match. Neither fighter had to take this fight. They could have waited around until they were 25-0 and hoped to be called in for a title shot.
“ I know what he can do. I can do more than him. ” Undefeated Heavyweight Contender - Frank Sanchez
But neither is built that way. They both have traveled many miles, leaving the familiarities of their homes behind not out of desperation, but out of confidence. After a while, Sanchez talked of meeting Cuban legend Teofilo Stevenson. “He gave me a couple of tips, some advice,” Sanchez said.
Though we didn’t get to talk much about Cuba’s rich boxing history, I got the idea that the man called “The Cuban Flash” is aware that he could be the first Cuban heavyweight champion. Just like welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas can tell you about Cuban legend Kid Chocolate’s best fights and even his best suits, I bet Sanchez has heard the names of past Cuban heavyweights like Julio Mederos and Nino Valdez. Before we could get into any of that, Sanchez brings the subject back to the task at hands.
“I just want everyone to tune in this Saturday so that they can all see what I am capable of doing.”
I wanted to ask him one or two more questions, but I got the sense that Sanchez preferred being somewhere else.
What can the fans expect on Saturday, I asked?
His answer was short and to the point.
“I prefer to do my talking in the ring. It’s going to be a great performance,” Sanchez said. “Tell everyone to tune in to see because I rather show it in the ring than talk about it.”
There was nothing else to say.
For a closer look at Frank Sanchez, check out his fighter page.