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WBO Cruiserweight champion Marco ‘Kapt’n’ Huck successfully retained his title with a thrilling sixth round stoppage victory over the tough Firat Arslan, in a rematch of their 2012 fight of the year contender.
Controversy surrounded the pair’s first encounter when it seemed that Arslan, who fell to 33-7-2 on Saturday night, outworked his younger foe throughout much of the fight only to be announced as the loser on each of the judges’ scorecards. This time Huck, who successfully defended his title for the twelfth time, rendered the officials redundant.
The fight was almost a carbon copy of the first fight, with the challenger eager to get on Huck’s chest and work on the inside. Huck, to his credit, was more active in the opener, whipping in left hooks as Arslan moved forward. Making him work for every second of the round, the 42 year old Arslan landed a solid left hand on the bell to end the stanza, but that was only after a hurtful three punch combination ending with a left uppercut bounced off Arslan’s head.
Roared on by a partisan home crowd, Arslan enjoyed more success in rounds two and three. Huck was still waning away with his hooks up close, but it was Arslan who began to land uppercuts between the guard of the champion, snapping the long time belt holder’s head back on numerous occasions. Huck was beginning to sit on the ropes but was still throwing shots, doubling up left hand hooks to the head before bringing them to the belt-line.
The entertaining phone-box warfare continued into the fourth, but one got the sense that Huck was now starting to get on top. A lead right hand to the body momentarily stopped Arslan’s assault, and he continued to work the body nicely, favouring the right hook. On occasion Huck even pushed his strong challenger backwards, but the fear was he was throwing a lot of punches in order to cement his success.
The pair traded left hooks early in the fifth, but it was Huck’s work which was the faster, classier stuff as Arslan started to miss frequently.
At the start of the sixth Arslan, perhaps sensing a change in the tide, rushed from his stall and put the pressure on Huck once again. But this time the champion had found the answer. Huck span off the ropes and connected with a ferocious straight right hand which sent Arslan on wobbly legs. Huck jumped. A flurry of punches ending in three right hooks put the game challenger down hard. Bravely getting to his feet, perhaps a little too fast, Huck went in for the kill. With Arslan covering up, Huck threw a flurry, and it looked as though the referee was about to intervene.
But it was the challenger who found a second wind as Huck seemingly punched himself out. Arslan again pushed Huck to the ropes and fired in hooks to the body. But the champion responded again, bouncing off the ropes to unleash a spiteful right hand on the ball of the chin, sending Arslan down for the second time. Rising on unsteady legs, Arslan was a sitting duck for another Huck onslaught before referee Mark Nelson, who had practically nothing to do all night, rightfully stopped the action. Huck improved to 37-2-1 and secured his first stoppage win since 2011. While Arslan proved he has a lot to give aged 42, it is unclear whether he will box again.
On the undercard, British heavyweight David Price (16-2) got back to winning ways with a routine first round stoppage over 25 year old Hungarian Istvan Ruzsinszky. Questions were raised over the former British and Commonwealth champion last year when he suffered back to back knockout defeats at the southpaw hands of American Tony Thompson. The 6ft 9” Olympic Bronze medalist went through a transitional period. Now trained by Tommy Brooks and promoted by Sauerland, his first fight on the continent was never going to tell us much, and that proved the case.
Journeyman Ruzsinszky (now 12-10-1) started as the aggressor, boring forward with his hands held high. The shorter man by all of nine inches, Ruzsinszky was able to cut the distance and attempted his slow arching left hooks which Price easily blocked. Keeping his right hand cocked and held high, Price was content to flick out his left jab for the first ninety seconds of the bout. Midway through the stanza, Price unleashed his straight right hand which pierced his opponents guard. Within an insistent Price throw a jab and launched a second right hand which smashed off the face of Ruzsinszky, felling the import. Rolling over on his back, Ruzsinszky gamely got back to his feet only for referee Joerg Milcke to rightfully stop the contest. Tougher tests will follow for Price, but it was refreshing to see the broad smile on his face.
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