By Danny Winterbottom
Marco Huck made a controversial 10th successful defence of his WBO world cruiserweight title with a unanimous point’s decision over 42-year-old Firat Arslan inside the Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle, Germany on Saturday November 3.
Scores of 115-113 twice, posted by vastly experienced British judges Paul Thomas and Mickey Vann, and an unfathomable 117-111 from Mr Giustino De Giovanni made sure Huck retained his title and kept alive his chances of landing a mooted fight with heavyweight boss Wladimir Klitschko.
Southpaw Arslan (14st 2 1/2lbs), from the Friedberg area of Bayern, started the contest as he meant to go on as he marched straight onto the chest of the champion behind a high held guard. Huck (14st 3lbs) seemed content at first to allow Arslan to be in such close proximity as he landed a stinging left hook to the body with his back against the ropes. Soon however the challenger began to find a gap between the champions defence with a short left uppercut. As is customary with the Berlin favourite Huck began to unload punches in the closing 10 seconds of the round to edge a close session on my card.
Arslan upped the pace in round two, defying all of his 42 years as he forced Huck against the ropes. Huck ripped a left to the body as the challenger worked upstairs bloodying the nose of the champion. The former WBA world champion was willing to walk through anything Huck fired back at him and despite a late rally from Huck in the final few seconds Arslan levelled things up.
A pattern was emerging by the third session with the contest boiling down to a battle of the left hands. Arslan’s short uppercut inside and Huck’s ripping body shot he utilised in an attempt to slow down the challenger who was 15 years his senior. Despite this concentrated body attack there appeared no let-up in the ferocity of the challenger as he made life uncomfortable for Huck in the close exchanges. The champion suddenly burst into a flurry of straight punching with seconds left in the round in an attempt to catch the eye of the judges and steal the round.
Sweat sprayed from the head of the champion in the fourth as Arslan landed another left uppercut with alarming ease. Huck had no option but to work off the back foot as he failed to match Arslan’s work rate. His brief retort was a left and right roundhouse combination to the body.
With the nose of the champion still leaking blood Arslan almost sprinted across the ring with youthful enthusiasm that belied his over 40 status to begin the fifth. Huck landed his staple left hook to the body and both tried uppercuts that missed. Arslan landed a right to the body followed by a left to the head and Huck shot a right into the midriff of the challenger but it was the Friedberg man that landed the cleaner blows.
Huck physically “shoved” Arslan off him in the seventh as he tried to make room for his punches. Better work from the champion saw him land four unanswered straight right hands through the tight guard of the challenger as there were signs the older man could be tiring.
Both landed heavy blows in the eighth as Huck’s face showed the scars of battle. Arslan was undeterred in his quest to continually pressure the champion but it was the increased punch output of Huck that caught the eye.
Huck seemed to have found an answer to the marauding attacks of the challenger through rounds nine and 10 as he measured the range to land on his man before he could close the distance. Arslan continued to work inside when the opportunity presented itself but Huck scored with the cleaner shots as the fight entered the final two rounds of a pulsating contest.
Both men battled hard in what was descending into a war of attrition. With blood smeared across his cheek Huck laid it all on the line in an attempt to hold onto his WBO title but Arslan wouldn’t be denied.
Arslan stood frozen to the spot in disbelief as Huck was declared the winner.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this decision. I landed clean punches and he only scuffed me” said a disgruntled Arslan after the contest.
“This kind of thing is ruining boxing. I landed so many punches. The whole crowd knows who won that fight. I’ve been robbed. I should be world champion today.”
Not surprisingly the champion disagreed “I’m not a judge but I think I landed more punches” he said.
Arslan dropped to 32-6 (21) whilst the champion improved to 35-2 (25) and may still land a money spinning shot at heavyweight boss Wladimir Klitschko.
WBO number four ranked light heavyweight Dustin Dirks (26-0) (19) won an eight round unanimous decision over Brazilian Cleiton Conceicao (18-5-2) (14) and claimed the vacant WBA Intercontinental title in a scrappy, clinch ridden affair. Dirks dropped his man in round two and then Conceicao proceeded to hold and spoil his way through 10 more uneventful rounds. Scores were 117-107, 117-108 and 120-104.
Heavyweight Edmund Gerber (22-0) (14) won an eight round decision over Darnell “The Ding-a-Ling Man” Wilson (24-16-3) (20). Wilson, who didn’t appear to be in the greatest shape, staggered Gerber badly at the end of round one and was unfortunate that the bell sounded. Gerber recovered to do enough to win in an unconvincing performance. Scores
were 79-73, 79-73 and 79-74.
Light heavyweight Robert Woge (10-0) (9) battered Serhiy Demchenko (14-4) (10) into submission in five rounds.
Enrico Koelling W6 Ivan Maslov (Cruiserweight)
David Graf W8 Blanchard Kalambay (Cruiserweight)
Tyron Zeuge W6 Matingu Kindele (Super Middleweight)