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Frank Sanchez-Agit Kabayel WBC Title Eliminator Set For Usyk-Fury Show; Full Undercard Announced


Frank Sanchez and Agit Kabayel landed on the perfect stage for their heavyweight battle.

The pair of unbeaten Ring-rated top ten contenders will meet in a final WBC title eliminator. Their bout will take place on the May 18 Oleksandr Usyk-Tyson Fury ‘Ring of Fire’ undercard at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Fittingly, the Sanchez-Kabayel winner will become a mandatory challenger to whomever prevails in the RING/undisputed heavyweight championship main event.

The matchup was in discussion for several weeks and finalized late this week, The Ring confirmed.

Both boxers won separate fights on the December 23 ‘Day of Reckoning’ show also at Kingdom Arena.

Sanchez (24-0, 7 17 knockouts), No. 6 at heavyweight, stopped New Zealand’s Junior Fa in the seventh round. The Miami-based Cuban southpaw extended his current four-fight knockout streak with the feat.

Germany’s Kayabel (24-0, 16 KOs) picked up his biggest win to date on the same show. The 31-year-old upset previously unbeaten Arslanbek Makhmudov via fourth-round stoppage.

The winner will either be in line to fight for the undisputed championship or settle for the vacant WBC title. Ukraine’s Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs) risks his RING championship and unified WBA, IBF and WBO titles in the main event. England’s Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs), No. 1 at heavyweight, brings the WBC belt to the first undisputed heavyweight championship of the 21st century.

Sanchez-Kabayel was formally announced by Turki Alalshikh, chairman of General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The remaining undercard bouts were carried over from the postponed February 17 show.

The Ring cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) faces Mairis Brieids (28-2, 20 KOs), No. 1 at 200. The bout is a rematch to their July 2022 thriller, which saw Syndey’s Opetaia dethroned Briedis via unanimous decision.

Two defenses have followed for Opetaia, a 2012 Olympian, including a first-round knockout of Ellis Zorro on the ‘Day of Reckoning’ show. Briedis, a former three-time champ from Riga, Latvia, has not fought since the aforementioned defeat.

Cardiff’s Joe Cordina (17-0. 9 KOs), No. 3 at 130, attempts his second IBF title defense versus Belfast’s Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KOs) in the bout’s third major title fight.

Former light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev (35-4-1, 29 KOs) and Robin Sirwan Safar (16-0, 12 KOs) meet in a ten-round cruiserweight bout.

Fury stablemate Isaac Lowe (24-2-3, 8 KOs) faces Dubai’s Hasibullah Ahmadi (16-1, 5 KOs) in an eight-round featherweight contest.

British southpaw Mark Chamberlain (15-0, 11 KOs) meets Nigeria’s Joshua Oluwaseun Wahab (23-1, 16 KOs) in a ten-round junior lightweight battle.

Unbeaten 19-year-old British heavyweight prospect Moses Ituama (8-0, 6 KOs) takes on Ilja Mezencev (24-3, 20 KOs) in a ten-rounder. Itauma returns to the Kingdom after a first-round knockout on the October 28 Riyadh Season launch show.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for The Ring and vice president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Follow @JakeNDaBox

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