Ashton “H2O” Sylve overcame a hand injury to prevail in his first scheduled ten-round contest.
A post-birthday celebration was enjoyed in the ring, as the recently-turned 20-year-old soundly outpointed Brazil’s Estivan Falcao. Scores were 100-89, 99-90 and 99-90 for Sylve DAZN-aired main event Friday evening from Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Sylve dictated the pace early with a sharp jab and slick head movement. Falcao struggled early to untrack his offense, as he moved forward but could not find an opening versus his younger, faster and heavier handed foe.
Falcao’s decision to walk straight toward Sylve allowed the Long Beach, California native to land with lead left hooks as he fought off the back foot. Falcao did not have a response against a healthy version of the unbeaten prospect.
That changed midway through the fight.
Falcao came alive at a point when Sylve’s offense slowed considerably as a pre-existing right hand affected performance. Falcao—whose older brothers Esquiva and Yamaguchi both medaled in the 2012 London Olympics—took advantage of his unbeaten opponent’s low punch output and was able to score with his jab and right hand over the top.
Sylve largely played defense in round seven, though he was able to land a left hook to the body just before the bell. Falcao put in the better work for much of the round prior to that point, as he stuck to traditional combination punching.
Falcao switched between southpaw and conventional stance in round eight. It produced mixed results but he still managed to outwork and outland Sylve for much of the frame. Sylve came alive in the closing seconds, as a right hand briefly shut down Falcao’s offense.
Sylve fought through the pain and returned to the jab in the ninth round. Falcao pushed past the stick and let loose a right hand and left hook. The pattern held true in the final 30 seconds, perhaps the first round where he disallowed Sylve the opportunity to steal with a shoeshine.
Despite the late rally, Falcao needed a knockout as the fight entered the tenth and final round. It was Sylve, however, who let his hands go and landed rapid fire right hands. Falcao was forced on the defensive but was unable to avoid a late flurry by Sylve to send him to the canvas inside the final thirty seconds. He beat the count and made it to the bell but was forced to accept his third career defeat, all within his past five fights.
Sylve went the distance for the second time in as many appearances at this venue. He headlined the first MVProspects show last May, where he won an eight-round shutout over Adam Kipenga. Friday’s win sends his record to 11-0 (9KOs), though also to the junior welterweight division. The still growing boxer was five pounds over the lightweight limit, although he was still permitted to leave the ring with the WBC Youth lightweight title.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox