This Friday (July 15th) former WBA cruiserweight champion Firat Arslan returns to the ring against Lubos Suda from Czech Republic (live on Eurosport, broadcast starts at 21.00h / 9.00pm CET). Suda is one of only five fighters who have beaten Arslan in his 14 years in professional boxing.
In December 2003 the Czech veteran got the nod in a close 12 round WBA intercontinental championship bout in Prague. Now Arslan wants to take revenge in his own backyard at the EWS Arena in Göppingen, Germany, where he beat Carlos Cruzat for the WBO intercontinental title in November 2005.
Question: Firat, one year ago you were leading on the scorecards against Steve Herelius before your corner gave up the fight because you were completely dehydrated. What happened back then and how have you recovered from it?
Arlsan: I recovered very fast. It was just too hot in the ring. It was one of the hottest days of the year with almost 40 degrees celsius (about 105 fahrenheit). There was no air conditioning at the venue and with all the lighting it was even hotter in the ring. I just didn’t drink enough for these temperatures and went a very high pace in the first rounds. I was shocked when I lost but I learnt from it.
Question: So you’re hoping on cooler weather for this Friday when you fight Lubos Suda?
Arslan: I haven’t checked out the forecast yet but I’m sure that I will beat Suda regardless of the temperatures. As I said I learnt from the experience and will not make the same mistakes a second time.
Question: What are you expecting from the fight against Lubos Suda?
Arslan: I know Suda very well from our first fight and I have always followed him because I have waited for the chance to get my revenge. I am not in this sport to lose against anybody so I always try to get back at the people who managed to beat me. I’m glad to have that chance now. I will surely not underestimate Suda – but I will beat him.
Question: How was your training camp?
Arslan: Everything went very well. I got a new gym which I built in a house I bought a short while ago. I have everything I need in here. The sparring partners did a good job. It is not easy for me to find good sparring partners because lots of people don’t want to step into the ring with me – even if it’s only for sparring.
Question: What are your next steps if you manage to beat Suda?
Arslan: As I said I will beat Suda – there is no if. After that I hope to get a shot at a world title again. I know that I got what it taked to beat every champion out there. I will be world champion again.
Question: Are you targeting one champion in particular and if so who are you aiming for?
Arslan: The good thing about the cruiserweight division is that lots of excellent fighters live, train and fight in Germany. I am not looking at anybody in particular. I will take on whoever accepts my challenge. At the age of 40 I am not a young gun anymore but I know that with my experience and physical abilities I can still beat every fighter in the world when I bring in my top game.
Question: You always appear to be in top shape. How do you manage to keep your body this fit at your age?
Arslan: Just hard work, training and discipline. I am not one of those guys who run around with 20 pounds over their weight in between fights. I keep my weight because I never stop training – even in times of long lay-offs. That makes preparation a lot easier because I usually don’t have to make a lot of weight.
Question: WBO champion Marco Huck defends his title only one day after your fight in Munich. Will you go to watch his fight?
Arslan: Maybe. Why not? Let’s see how my own fight goes first. Huck is definitely one of the names on my hitlist because he holds a belt. But I’m pretty sure that he will not fight me because he knows that I would beat him. He’s a tough guy but he brings nothing to the ring which could surprise or overwhelm me.