Frank Sánchez is a Cuban heavyweight who was tipped by stablemate Canelo lvarez to take over the division.
After an extensive and successful amateur career, Sanchez debuted in the professional ranks in 2017 with a record of 214-6.
But in November 2019, unbeaten with 14 wins, the 6ft 4in contender was joined by respected trainer Eddie Reynoso, sharing the gym with Mexican star Canelo.
Since then, Sánchez has improved to 20–0, with a prior no-contest, and finished fifth with both the WBO and the WBC.
This puts them in touching distance of champion Tyson Fury, 33, and Alexander Usyk, 34, who defeated 32-year-old Anthony Joshua in September.
But according to Canelo, in a dire warning to heavyweight rivals, Sanchez will soon have a new king of the Blue Ribbon division.
Alvarez, 31, said: “He will be the world champion, he will sweep everyone in the heavyweight division, because he is a special talent.”
Sanchez, 28, recently defeated Fury’s former rival, 34-year-old Christian Hammer.
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And before that, he overcame fellow contender Efe Ajgba, 27, who was most impressive in his victory.
Despite their huge size and weight differences, Sanchez and Canelo have faced each other before at their San Diego gym.
And Alvarez, boxing’s current pound-for-pound No. 1, was in attendance to watch his training partner win over the hammer.
Sanchez said: “I was very inspired to see Canelo supporting me at ringside.
“It must be a definite year for my aspirations to become world champion.
“It was a tough opponent, but my dominance in the ring and my skills were too much for him and he would be for anyone who came my way.”
Sanchez’s regular victory over Hammer could further boost his place in the heavyweight rankings.
And it sets him up for a potentially breakthrough year, according to trainer Reynoso, the man who led Canelo to titles in four divisions.
He commented: “It’s another step in Frank’s promotion, and we’re sure 2022 will bring great things to him.”