By Jake Donovan
While Andy Ruiz Jr. made a point to lose a significant amount of weight heading into tonight’s UniMas-televised headliner, the opposite narrative holds true for Esquiva Falcao.
The unbeaten middleweight prospect faces Zoltan Popp on the undercard of Saturday’s show at Tachi Casino & Resort in Lemoore, California. It will mark his fifth fight of 2015, with hopes of one more by the end of the year before transitioning from prospect to contender.
Once that day comes, Falcao insists it will take place at middleweight.
“I had a few fights where I fought lighter than middleweight and hoped to compete at 154 lbs., but I didn’t like the way it felt,” Falcao, the 2012 Olympic Silver medalist from Brazil told BoxingScene.com. “It was a good experience to try out, but I feel a lot faster and stronger at middleweight.”
As the experiment comes to an end, Falcao finds himself back in the same weight class as older brother Yamaguchi. Both fighters served on the 2012 Brazil Olympic boxing team, with Yamaguchi bowing out one round earlier in bringing home the bronze.
The two remain supportive of each other’s careers, although they are with different promoters (Esquiva is with Top Rank, Yamaguchi with Golden Boy) and have no intention of ever facing each other in the ring.
“We talk all of the time,” Falcao, 25 says of his older brother by two years. “We give each other advice and are very close as is our entire family. There’s no competition, we want each other to succeed.”
Saturday’s bout versus Papp (7-1, 3KOs) marks a step up in competition for Falcao in his second fight back at the full middleweight limit. He weighed 160 ¼ lbs. for tonight’s fight and plans to maintain that weight long enough to remain a middleweight by the time he’s ready for his first world title.
“I’m looking forward to this fight, and I know (Papp) will bring out the best in me,” Falcao believes. “God-willing with a win, I get one more fight this year and keep improving with each fight. There is a lot happening at middleweight and I plan to be a part of it in the future.”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com.
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