Sanchez-Negron, Russell-Rodriguez added to Wilder-Helenius undercard

Two exciting high-stakes showdowns have been added to the jam-packed four-fight FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event headlined by the return of former WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder as he takes top-rated Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius on Saturday, October 15 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The telecast will feature undefeated Cuban sensation Frank Sanchez battling Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron in a 10-round heavyweight duel, while top bantamweight contenders Gary Antonio Russell and Emmanuel Rodriguez meet in a 12-round rematch opening the pay-per-view telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

In the co-feature, former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant faces two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell in a WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator between 168-pound rivals.

An amateur standout from his native Cuba, Sánchez (20-0, 13 KOs) now trains in California with renowned trainer Joe Goossen. The 30-year-old has remained busy on his rise up the heavyweight rankings, scoring three victories in 2020 as he earned a unanimous decision over Joey Dawejko and stopped Brian Howard and Julian Fernandez. Sanchez caught boxing fan’s attention when he scored a career-best win in October 2021, dropping the previously unbeaten Efe Ajagba on his way to a unanimous decision victory. Sanchez kicked off the New Year with a 10-round decision triumph against Christian Hammer in his last fight.

“Carlos Negron is a dangerous opponent, but I will be ready for whatever he brings. I intend to look for a knockout against Negron to demonstrate to boxing fans that I am both a boxer and a puncher,’’ said Sanchez. “I feel I am the best heavyweight in the world and October 15 will bring me one step closer to the very important goal of becoming mandatory contender for a world title opportunity in 2023.’’

The 2008 Puerto Rican Olympian Negron (25-3, 20 KOs) was scheduled to meet Sanchez on January 1 but had to withdraw from the fight after testing positive for COVID-19. Negron rides a five-fight winning streak into the match against Sanchez, including four wins by stoppage. The 34-year-old bounced back from defeats to Dominic Breazeale and Brian Howard to put together his win streak, which includes a March 2020 knockout over previously unbeaten Robert Alfonso. He scored an eight round unanimous decision over Scott Alexander in his last fight in May 2021. Negron has fought professionally since 2009 and now lives in Miami where he trains alongside Luis Ortiz.

“I know Frank, and I’ve never been a fighter to call any other fighters out or speak of any other boxer, so I don’t know why he asked to fight me,” said Negron. “When my coach told me he wanted to fight me, I didn’t take it personally. I took it like a challenge. It gave me incredible motivation, and now I want to fight him. Let’s see what I can do against good competition. I have always done my best against better opponents. So come October 15, let’s see who’s the better man.”

The 29-year-old Russell (19-0, 12 KOs) originally met the former champion Rodriguez in August 2021, but an accidental clash of heads ended the fight as a no-contest before the first round was completed. The middle brother between WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne, Russell returned to the ring after the Rodriguez bout to earn a decision victory over Alexis Santiago in November 2021. Fighting out of Capitol Heights, Maryland, Russell also owns a decision victory over former world champion Juan Carlos Payano in December 2020.

“I’m glad that Emmanuel and I will get our chance to have a redo on October 15,” said Russell. “Nothing has changed as far as my objective. I’m coming into the ring at Barclays Center to do whatever I have to do in order to finish this fight victorious.”

Fighting out of Manati, Puerto Rico, Rodríguez (20-2, 13 KOs) has also added a victory since his first clash with Russell, knocking out Roberto Sanchez Cantu in March. The 30-year-old won the IBF Bantamweight World Title with a unanimous decision victory over Paul Butler in 2018 and successfully defended it against then-unbeaten Jason Moloney. Rodríguez went on to lose the title to unbeaten champion Naoya Inoue in their May 2019 title bout.

“I’ve been training in Mexico for a long time and away from my family so that I can focus on this fight that will define my future,” said Rodriguez. “Russell is a good fighter who has been avoided throughout his career, but I’ve come to show that I’m on another level. I will win hands down and be back on top of the bantamweight division. On October 15, he’s going to realize that he’s not on my level.”

Granados-Sanchez, Negron-Alexander added to Ruiz-Arreola undercard

An action-packed lineup of undercard attractions will enter the ring as part of a stacked boxing extravaganza headlined by former unified heavyweight champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. taking on all-action Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola in the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View main event this Saturday, May 1 from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Portions of the undercard will be broadcast for free on the FOX Sports app and starting at 4:40pm ET/1:40 p.m. PT. The undercard feed will also be made available to the PBC on FOX YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages. Ray Flores and Félix DeJesús will be on the call.

Undercard attractions will feature hard-hitting Adrian “El Tigre” Granados in an eight-round welterweight bout against Jose Sanchez, Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron taking on Scott Alexander in an eight-round heavyweight clash, rising prospect Fernando Molina facing Prisco Marquez in a lightweight fight and unbeaten prospect Anthony Garnica dueling Jesse Bazzi for four-rounds of featherweight action.

The FOX Sports Pay-Per-View begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Preceding the pay-per-view, FOX PBC Fight Night will begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and be headlined by WBA Super Welterweight Champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara seeking a third title in a second weight class when he takes on Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna for the WBA Middleweight Title.

Granados (21-8-2, 15 KOs) has battled a slew of accomplished super lightweights and welterweights over the course of his career including Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia and most recently Robert Easter Jr. in October 2019. The 31-year-old from Mexico City, Mexico owns an upset knockout victory over then-unbeaten Amir Imam and returned to the ring in February 2020 to stop Arturo Herrera in two rounds. He will be opposed by Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Sanchez (11-1, 4 KOs), who owns a nine-fight winning streak heading into this step up against the veteran Granados. The 28-year-old has fought professionally since 2012 and delivered three victories in 2019, including a fifth-round TKO of Joe Gomez.

A 2008 Olympian from Villalba, Puerto Rico, Negron (22-3, 18 KOs) fights out of Miami, Florida and enters this bout the winner of back-to-back contests. Negron stopped the previously unbeaten Robert Alfonso in March 2020, before most recently knocking out Rafael Rios in November 2020. He faces the 32-year-old Alexander (16-3-2, 8 KOs), who has also won back-to-back fights entering May 1. The Los Angeles-native Alexander has won four of his last five fights overall dating back to 2016.

The 18-year-old Molina (5-0, 3 KOs) first turned pro in August 2019, scoring stoppage victories in his first two fights, before a successful U.S. debut saw him defeat Jose Zaragoza by decision in November 2020. A native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Molina most recently stopped James De Herrera in the first-round in January of this year. He squares off against Marquez (4-2-1, 1 KO), who fights out of Liberal, Kansas and is entering the fight off of decision losses to then-unbeaten fighters Arnold Dinong and Christopher Zavala.

Representing his hometown of San Francisco, California, Garnica (5-0, 3 KOs) returns to the ring after his last bout saw him score a decision victory over Luis Alvarado in February 2020. The 20-year-old delivered knockouts in three of his first four fights after turning pro in October 2018. He takes on the 29-year-old Bazzi (1-1) from Dearborn, Michigan. Bazzi turned pro in 2021 with a win over Andre Marquez before dropping a March contest to Francisco Javier Martinez.

Breazeale: ‘I’m only chasing the belt because Deontay Wilder is running’

Heavyweight contender Dominic Breazeale is looking to continue his winning ways as he battles Carlos Negron on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Breazeale, who has won two straight fights since losing to Anthony Joshua, wants to beat Negron so he can get to WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.

“I think fighting a guy like Carlos Negron is a stepping stone to getting the fight with Deontay WIlder,” Breazeale said on Thursday. “He has similar size and stature, so it’s like a rough sketch for the title fight. I want to stay in rhythm and dust off any cobwebs there may be, so I’m active and ready when the Wilder fight comes.”

There is no love lost between Wilder and Breazeale after the two had an altercation at an Alabama hotel back in 2017. The two have had a war of words since.  Breazeale would later file a lawsuit against Wilder, but ultimately that case was dismissed.

At this point, according to Breazeale, Wilder is running from him.

“I’m only chasing the belt because Deontay Wilder is running,” he said.

Wilder is coming off a controversial draw against Tyson Fury on December 1. If Wilder does not fight Fury or Joshua, Breazeale could be an option for him, and with the bad blood between the two, it could make for an exciting fight. However, it does not happen unless Breazeale beats Negron on Saturday night.