Vincenzo Gualtieri drops Esquiva Falcao twice, wins unanimous decision in Germany
Vincenzo Gualtieri dropped Esquiva Falcao twice en route to a unanimous decision victory Saturday night at Unihalle in Gualtieri’s hometown of Wuppertal, Germany.
Scores were 116-110, 116-110 and 117-109 for Gualtieri, who improved to 21-0-1, 7 knockouts and won the vacant IBF world middleweight title.
After an uneventful opening round, Gualtieri scored a knockdown during the opening moments of the second round, dropping Falcao to one knee with an uppercut to the chin. The southpaw Falcao was not visibly hurt and fought on.
Falcao was able to find openings, outboxing Gualtieri over the next couple of rounds. Gualtieri swung momentum his way during the fifth round, utilizing effective combinations to the head and body.
Sensing he was down on the scorecards, and being implored by trainer Robert Garcia, Falcao was the aggressor, taking initiative. He did find some success, but Gualtieri outboxed and countered Falcao during exchanges.
Gualtieri scored a knockdown in round 10, although replays showed the punch strayed below Falcao’s beltline. Still wincing in pain, Falcao was able to beat the count, but his punch output dropped, likely due to fatigue or from the effects of the low blow.
The 30-year-old Gualtieri defeated Vincenzo Bevilacqua in his previous fight on September 10. He had won his previous six fights, all by decision, since a majority decision draw against unbeaten Thomas Piccirillo in August 2020.
Falcao (30-1, 20 KOs) was the favorite going into the fight. The 33-year-old, who won a silver medal for Brazil in the 2012 Olympic Games, had not fought since a stay-busy decision win over Cristian Rios on May 29 of last year.
Robert Garcia was optimistic about Falcao’s chances, even though they were traveling to foreign soil.
“Falcao trained hard and is in great shape for his first world title fight,” Garcia told The Ring earlier this week. “We know it won’t be easy, especially traveling to our opponent’s home, but Falcao (had) one thing on his mind and that was to bring the title back with us.”
The IBF title was up for grabs after Gennadiy Golovkin informed the sanctioning body he was relinquishing the belt in February.
Neither Gualtieri or Falcao are currently ranked in The Ring Magazine rankings at 160 pounds.
In a clash of unbeaten middleweights, Etinosa Oliha of Asti, Italy defeated Chile’s Julio Alamos (16-1, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision. Scores were 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112 for Oliha, who improved to 18-0, 8 KOs and won a minor world title belt.
Fringe junior middleweight contender Jack Culcay of Berlin, Germany improved to 33-4, 14 KOs, scoring a second round knockout win over Juan Adrian Monzon (8-5-3, 7 KOs) in the second round.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]