By Steven Bateson
Mairis Breidis went into enemy territory and walked out WBC & IBO Cruiserweight Champion, unanimously outpointing Marco Huck in Dortumund on Saturday Night.
It was a scrappy, ugly fight, which never produced the fireworks that many predicted but Breidis’ superior footwork, jab and workrate made him the clear and convincing victor. The judges’ scorecards read: 116-111, 117-110, 118-109
The bout was originally scheduled for the interim WBC belt but the governing body took the decision earlier this week to upgrade to full champion status after making Tony Bellew "Champion Emeritus". The fight started quietly but Breidis was quick to establish his excellent jab, doubling up at every opportunity, and working to the body every time he backed Huck up on the ropes.
The first four rounds followed a similar patter, Breidis working off the jab whilst Huck was unable to produce anything of note. Huck attempted to use roughhouse tactics in close, holding and hitting, but Breidis was stronger and able to negate any potential danger. The Latvian’s footwork was impressive all night and allowed him to constantly move out of the crosshairs of Marco Huck’s danger right hand.
The rounds weren’t particularly action packed but it was Breidis who was producing all of the work. Huck was being made to miss badly and was guilty of overreaching time and again. A big right hand from Breidis in round seven, set up again by his jab, momentarily stunned the IBO Champion but Breidis demonstrated his patience and went back to controlling the pace and action.
Over the years we have become accustomed to Huck working in bursts over the last half of rounds but he is now either incapable or just could not fathom away to tee off on his opponent. He has been involved in some tremendous wars with the likes of Ola Afolabi & Firat Arslan but this is the first time he has looked completely devoid of ideas. Both men were noted punches coming in but it was more tactical from Breidis and that took away any chance Huck had of dragging him into the trenches.
Breidis saw the fight out comfortably despite a little more urgency on the part of the German fighter. Huck may now evaluate if he has anything left in the locker whilst the new, and still undefeated, WBC Champion will look forward to some big fights down the line, perhaps even a lucrative clash with WBC Champion Emeritus, Tony Bellew, should the Liverpudlian choose to return to the division.
In the chief support; Unbeaten Christina Hammer successfully defended her WBC & WBO Middleweight Titles against Sweden’s Maria Lindberg, registering a complete shutout over ten rounds. Hammer controlled the fight against her 40 year old opponent, whom she had defeated 6 years ago in her first ever world title defense, and the gulf in class was all too apparent.
Hammer is a good fighter but she needs a real challenge to test her true level. The Middleweight division isn’t exactly brimming with talent, however, America’s two time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields may fancy testing the world title waters sooner rather than later.