Birthplace: Ugao, Serbia
Record: 36-2-1 (25)
World Titles: WBO cruiserweight (2009-present)
Most Impressive Fights: MD 12 Ola Afolabi (2013), L MD 12 Alexander Povetkin (2012), SD 12 Denis Lebedev (2010)
Trainer: Ulli Wegner
Residence: Suessen, Germany
Birthplace: Friedburg, Germany
Record: 33-6-2 (21)
World Titles: WBA cruiserweight (2007-2008)
Most Impressive Fights: L UD 12 Marco Huck (2012), UD 12 Virgil Hill (2007), TKO 5 Grigory Drodz (2006)
Trainer: Torsten Schmitz
It’s been nearly 15 months since Marco Huck met Firat Arslan in a keenly contested bout. Arslan rolled back the years as many believed he had done enough to win a decision. The official ringside judges, however, sided with Huck by scores of 117-111 and 115-113 (twice).
They once again meet in an eagerly anticipated rematch tonight. Both are confident in their abilities but Huck believed he won the initial encounter and intends to separate himself from his rival.
“This time, I want to win as clear as possible that nobody can doubt my status as one of the best cruiserweights around,” said the WBO cruiserweight titleholder.
At the advanced age of 43, Arslan is looking to make good on his second opportunity to unseat Huck as champion.
“Many experts also seemed to be very surprised about the outcome to say the least. However, I am not living in the past but look forward to what lies ahead: a rematch with Huck on January 25th
, when justice will be served!” insisted Arslan.
Huck looks to make his 12th
title defense, putting him just one behind Johnny Nelson, who currently holds the cruiserweight record.
Huck is extremely popular in Germany, regularly drawing large TV audiences. In his three bouts in 2012, he drew 32.7 percent of the market share for the Alexander Povetkin WBA heavyweight title tussle while 23.8 percent tuned in for the Ola Afolabi rematch and 26.8 percent watched Huck’s close battle with Arslan. In his lone appearance last year, “Kapt’n” had 19.3 percent for the third go-round with Afolabi which averaged 3.57 million viewers.
“Every fight is a blockbuster with him. He’s a fan’s favourite; he fights with his heart on his sleeve.” Promoter Kalle Sauerland would say of Huck. “You talk about fighting top opposition; he’s fought Afolabi twice, Povetkin, Arslan. He fights Arslan on the 25th January in a rematch. There was a split with what people thought [the result should have been in their first bout]. It could have gone either way.”
Both Huck and Arslan took time out of their hectic schedules to speak with Maxboxing ahead of their highly anticipated rematch tonight. Anson Wainwright - You fought Firat Arslan in November 2012. He gave you a very tough fight, in which you won a close decision. What would you say of the first fight?
Marco Huck - Everyone saw that I won the fight. It might have been close; Arslan might have been at his best. But when you look at the scoring sheets, it still reads a “W” in my favour. OK, I could have been better that night as I took him a bit lightly. This time, I want to win as clear as possible that nobody can doubt my status as one of the best cruiserweights around.
AW - What would you say of your first fight with Marco Huck? Do you feel you won?
Firat Arslan - There is no doubt in my mind that I won when we first met in November 2012. Many experts also seemed to be very surprised about the outcome to say the least. However, I am not living in the past but look forward to what lies ahead: a rematch with Huck on January 25, when justice will be served!
AW - What would you say about Arslan and what you feel he brings to the fight in terms of strengths and weaknesses?
MH - His main strength has to be his discipline. To be able to come in shape as he does at the age of 43 deserves the utmost respect. The rest does not bother me - I simply have to look at myself and what I can do to beat him - that is all what matters to me.
AW - What do you see as Huck’s strengths and also what areas do you feel he isn’t so good in?
FA - I have respect for every opponent I am going to face and therefore, I give no evaluation of their respective weaknesses. Nevertheless, I can tell you that Huck belongs to the very best at cruiserweight.
AW - How important is it to you to erase all doubt that some people have from the first fight of you and your career?
MH - This is very important to me. I just have to win in decisive fashion. For me it is not about the critics. It is important for my ego as I want to prove myself what I am capable of.
AW - How important is this fight to you not just in terms of winning but your future and legacy in the sport? At 43, there likely won’t be many more chances; would that be fair to say?
FA - This fight is extremely important to me. Not because of my age or my future in professional boxing - it is about the chance to realize a dream of mine: becoming a world champion for the second time! I am as good in shape as I was when I won my first world title fight or when I fought Marco 15 months ago. As far as I can see, my age is not of importance. Just look at my strength-and-conditioning coach, Ted Lackner - he is 66 years of age and fit as a fiddle. Therefore, 43 years are not that old at all.
AW - Have you done anything different in camp ahead of the rematch?
MH - My coach, Ulli Wegner organized a simulated altitude, training in a compression chamber. I really feel that this is very beneficial to me as I can regenerate faster. You will see it come January 25th.
AW - What do you feel you can do to improve from the previous fight to win?
FA - That is a difficult question to answer. It is not like that I did much wrong in the first fight. If anything, I did find a game plan to throw Huck out of his comfort zone. I think that you will see neither a different Firat Arslan nor another style from Marco Huck in the rematch. We both know what awaits us come January 25th.
AW - What would your message be to Arslan?
MH - I am the best at cruiserweight and will still be after I beat you!
AW - What would you say to Huck ahead of the rematch?
FA - I have no special rant for him. This is not the way I am and this will not change now. All I can tell you is my conviction that justice will be served this time - that is what I am fighting for at the Schleyer-Halle in Stuttgart.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.
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