Cuban heavyweight Frank Sanchez is joining the club of contenders hoping to get in position to fight for the vacant WBO heavyweight title, which isn’t actually vacant right now, with co-manager Mike Borao pleading the fighter’s case to Sky Sports:
“I’ve predicted all along that Fury fights Joshua and, as a result, the WBO title gets vacated sometime in 2021 leaving mandatory challenger Usyk versus someone for the vacated title. I still believe that remains a likely scenario, but of course one never knows. If the WBO title is vacated in early 2021 as a result of Fury versus Joshua, Frank will be in a very good position to challenge for the WBO title, and he will no doubt shine.”
While this is Borao’s prediction, there’s really no great indication that Anthony Joshua is going to vacate the WBO belt. It could happen, yes, but a lot of guys are sort of trying to line up to fight mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk for a vacant belt that is not vacant.
As it stands now, the WBO’s rankings are, in order, Usyk, Joe Joyce, Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev, Andy Ruiz Jr, Junior Fa, and then Sanchez. Joyce, Parker, Pulev, Ruiz, and Fa would be quite a group to jump over. Parker and Fa are set to meet Feb. 27, so that frees up a spot, probably, but even still. I mean, Joyce has indicated he wants the Usyk fight if it comes up, and I don’t think Sanchez and team can do much to jump over the No. 2 man between now and the theoretical then.
Sanchez (17-0, 13 KO) last fought on Dec. 19, featuring on the Canelo-Smith card with a pretty easy but not exactly thrilling (at least until the big KO) win over Julian Fernandez, who isn’t a contender. The 28-year-old is in good position overall, but there’s just a big block of guys ahead of him even with just the WBO specifically.