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New Year’s card in trouble: Negron out with COVID, Sanchez now faces Christian Hammer

Frank Sanchez (L) and Efe Ajagba (R) exchange punches during their 10-round heavyweight bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
28
Dec

Thousands of flights and events have been cancelled due to COVID concerns after the new outbreaks led by the Delta and Omicron strains. And now you can add the Frank Sanchez-Carlos Negron heavyweight fight to that list.

Miami’s Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald reported this morning that Negron (who spars regularly with teammate Luis Ortiz, headliner of the Jan. 1 card) tested positive for COVID and is currently symptomatic, which renders him unable to fight. Other media outlets have confirmed the news, and replacement opponent Christian Hammer will now face Sanchez.

“The whole thing was very unfortunate, because Carlos was really looking forward to fighting Frank”, said the Herald’s source, as quoted in the article. “An effort was made to find a medical solution, but the virus attacked him pretty badly and debilitated him greatly. He is unable to fight.”

Negron (25-3, 20 knockouts), a member of the 2008 Puerto Rico Olympic boxing team trained by German Caicedo, was slated to face Sanchez in the co-main event of a five-fight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View card broadcasted live from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Luis Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) will take on former IBF heavyweight beltholder Charles Martin in the main event.

Sanchez (19-0, 13 KOs) has been very active recently, scoring a number of high-profile wins. Aside from the opponent switch,  Sanchez will have to wait and see whether the virus has spread beyond Negron and into Ortiz’s entourage or the fighter himself.

Hammer (26-8, 16 KOs) is coming off a fifth-round stoppage loss to Hughie Fury in October.

 

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