Tuesday, June 06, 2023  |


Esquiva Falcao faces Patrice Volny in his search for the elusive title shot

Fighters Network

LAS VEGAS – For most decorated amateurs with an Olympic medal, the road to a world title fight usually takes place in the fast lane. If that fighter keeps winning, it might take a few years and perhaps 15 or 20 fights – often fewer – to get to the title bout.

For middleweight contender Esquiva Falcao it has been more of a slog. The 2012 Olympic silver medalist from Brazil has a been a pro since 2014. He is 28-0 with 20 knockouts and only now is on the precipice of a mandatory title shot.

He will square off with Patrice Volny in an IBF title elimination fight in the co-feature of the Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter welterweight title bout on Saturday (ESPN+ PPV, 9 p.m. ET, $69.95) at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay.

The Robert Garcia-trained Falcao, 31, has been patient getting to this point.

“It took a lot of time, but I think it is all God’s plan,” Falcao told The Ring through manager and interpreter Sergio Batarelli on Thursday. “I have prepared very well for a title fight and sometimes it didn’t happen but it’s good. I am ready for this fight.”

Batarelli has not been as patient as Falcao getting to an elimination fight.

“It took a little bit too long,” he said.

Falcao, a southpaw, was initially ordered to meet Germany’s Patrick Wojcicki (14-0-1, 5 KOs) in an eliminator planned for Aug. 28, but Wojcicki withdrew with an injury and the fight was eventually canceled. The 32-year-old Volny (16-0, 10 KOs), of Montreal, was the IBF’s next leading available contender and accepted the fight.

The Falcao-Volny winner will position himself as a mandatory challenger for the winner of the unification fight between IBF titlist Gennadiy Golovkin and WBA counterpart Ryota Murata, who are scheduled to fight on Dec. 29 in Saitama, Japan on DAZN.

As long as Falcao has had to wait to secure an eliminator, he said the fact that a win would position him to fight for two world titles made the wait worth it.

“That is God’s plan. Wait, wait, and now I have a chance to be fighting for the unified title,” Falcao said. “I know I will beat this guy on Saturday. No problem at all because I am at the best phase of my fighting career and for sure I will beat Murata or GGG.”

While a GGG fight would likely be more lucrative, Falcao wants Murata. They have unfinished business as Murata won a disputed decision against him in the 2012 Olympic gold medal fight.

Top Rank promotes both of them and chairman Bob Arum has talked about a professional rematch since their pro debuts.

But Batarelli claims Murata “is all the time avoiding” Falcao.

Falcao thinks that even if Murata upsets Golovkin, he still won’t agree to fight him.

“I don’t think Murata would fight me. I think he would vacate the (IBF) title before he would fight me again,” Falcao said. “I think his fight with GGG is not for the title. It’s for the money. I am fighting to be a world champion and to make history.”

Falcao is coming off a Feb. 20 fourth-round knockout of Artur Akavov, who pushed WBO middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade into the 12th round before getting stopped in a January 2019 title fight.

“Everybody thought I would lose to the Russian in my last fight, but I said I would win by KO and I did,” Falcao said. “Everybody thinks the same thing with Volny, who everybody says is going to come and try to knock me out because he is a strong fighter. But I will finish the fight before the eighth round and then I will fight for the world title.”