Click Boxing Tickets to view a list of upcoming boxing events.
WBO Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck (36-2-1) returns to his adopted homeland this Saturday (January 25th) when he defends his world title against Firat Arslan (33-6-2) in the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle Arena in Stuttgart, Germany in a rematch of the pair’s controversial 2012 encounter. Sauerland promote.
Bookmakers William Hill have Marco Huck a clear favourite at 1/6 while Firat Arslan is 4/1 against, a draw is 25/1.
Many felt that Huck, 29, was fortunate to walk away with the victory against his 42-year-old foe two years ago, as Arslan and his team launched a scathing attack on the ringside judges as the thousands in attendance vented their anger.
“This fight was the biggest scam that I’ve ever seen. It’s a disgrace” Arslan’s coach Dieter Wittmann said following the encounter. At the post fight press conference, Arslan continued his assault. “I’ve never experienced anything like this decision. This kind of thing is ruining boxing. I’ve been robbed of the win, the crowd know it. I would have been the new world champion today; I would have written history.”
The Bayern veteran did have a point. He continued to land vicious hooks with both hands up close, outworking the man 15 years his junior throughout much of the contest. He bloodied the champion’s nose in the second, and appeared in control as he raised his arms at the end of the ninth in triumph. Despite finishing the stronger, most felt Huck had been fairly beaten, although the three men that mattered most disagreed.
As a result, Huck, who has held the WBO Cruiserweight crown for the best part of five years despite an unsuccessful stint at Heavyweight, agreed to the rematch. Originally scheduled for September 14th last year, Huck was forced to withdraw from the bout a week prior after suffering a hairline fracture to his left elbow in training. But Arslan finally gets his rematch on Saturday.
Many believe the fight will be a carbon copy of the pair’s thrilling encounter two years ago. Arslan will undoubtedly set a high tempo as he attempts to leave nothing to chance, forcing Huck to work for every minute of every round. The champion meanwhile will look to close the distance and fire off his own work towards the end of each stanza. Some feel that Huck merely took his older opponent lightly last time out, but others say he is on the slide. Two savage battles with Britain’s Ola Afolabi sandwiched the first Arslan fight, while his heavyweight war with former WBA regular champion Alexander Povetkin is the type of fight which shortens careers.
Arslan, in contrast, secured a routine ten round decision against fellow German Varol Vekiloglu. But he hasn’t fought since April, and at 42 that could work against him. Expect Arslan to start quick in this one, before Huck wears him down in the middle rounds, perhaps forcing a stoppage late on.
On the undercard, British interest lies with David Price (15-2) as he returns to action following his two defeats at the hands of American Tony Thompson. Olympic bronze medallist Price, 30, was stopped by an innocuous looking left hook in round two in February last year, before running out of gas in the rematch as he was halted in the fifth. Having signed with German promoters Sauerland, and with a brief stint training under Adam Booth, the 6ft 9” Liverpudlian looks to get his career back on track against Kazak Konstantin Airich (19-7-2).
Airich is seen as a risky fight for Price. Having won 15 of his 19 fights by knockout, he could potentially test Price’s chin early. But Airich has lost every time he has stepped up in class, and one suspects that the Briton, who himself bolsters an impressive KO percentage, will land his right hand early on to end proceedings. The fight may not tell us what we need to know about Price, but sterner tests will come later in the year.
Marco Huck vs. Firat Arslan is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch 546) this Saturday at 6pm. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.
For latest boxing news, follow @dvano1