The fighting pride of Brazil, middleweight contender Esquiva “La Pantera” Falcao, has a world title shot on his mind. The next step for the 2012 Olympic silver medalist is Jesus Antonio Gutierrez in a 10-round showdown Friday, July 19 at MGM National Harbor.
Falcao-Gutierrez will be the featured bout on the undercard stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. In eight-round undercard action, middleweight prospect Tyler “Hercules” Howard (17-0, 11 KOs) will take on Philadelphia native Jamaal Davis (18-14-1, 7 KOs), and super featherweight Tyler McCreary (15-0-1, 7 KOs) will look to rebound from a March 23 draw against Jessie Cris Rosales (22-2-1, 10 KOs).
The evening will be topped by a pair of IBF world title eliminators — lightweight Teofimo Lopez versus Masayoshi Nakatani and junior welterweight Maxim Dadashev versus Subriel Matias — that will stream live on ESPN+ starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
“This is a great opportunity for me to showcase my skills,” Falcao said. “Nobody has seen the best of me yet, and I am working hard with Robert Garcia to improve my craft. I look at all of the middleweights out there, and I know I can compete with any of them. I fought on the biggest stage as an amateur. I will thrive when I am given that opportunity as a professional.”
Falcao (23-0, 15 KOs) turned pro in February 2014 following a storied amateur career that included an excruciatingly close 14-13 decision loss to Ryota Murata in the 2012 Olympic gold medal match (75 kilograms). A natural righty who fights as a southpaw, Falcao is a classic boxer-puncher who has never come close to tasting defeat in the paid ranks.
After winning three bouts in 2018, including a pair of first-round stoppages, Falcao returned home to Brazil for the first time as a pro on March 31, shutting out veteran Jorge Daniel Miranda over 10 rounds. Gutierrez (25-3-2, 12 KOs), from Tijuana, Mexico, is an eight-year pro who is looking to rebound from a knockout loss to Steven Butler last November in Canada. Prior to the Butler defeat, Gutierrez had been on a six-bout unbeaten streak dating back to June 2016.
In other undercard action:
Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (32-0-1, 18 KOs), one of Washington, D.C.’s most popular young fighters, will look to thrill the home region fans in an eight-round super welterweight bout versus Juan De Angel (21-11-1, 19 KOs).
Top heavyweight prospect Cassius Chaney (15-0, 9 KOs) will look to extend his knockout streak to five versus Joel Caudle (8-2-2, 5 KOs) in a bout scheduled for eight or six rounds.
Washington, D.C. native Patrick Harris (16-0, 8 KOs) will make his third appearance at MGM National Harbor in a super lightweight bout scheduled for eight or six rounds against Donald Ward (11-10-1 5 KOs).
Nathaniel Davis (1-0, 1 KO), from Lusby, Maryland, will take on Rolando Vargas (2-0, 2 KOs) in a battle of unbeaten lightweights.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets priced at $100, $75, $50 and $25 (not including applicable fees) are on sale now and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com or in person at the MGM National Harbor.