German puncher Marco Huck might not be the most spectacular fighter in the world, but he is still the WBO cruiserweight beltholder after posting an impressive sixth-round TKO over Firat Arslan in a rematch of their controversial encounter in Stuttgart, Germany.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:55.
In an all-action fight, Arslan (33-7-2, 21 knockouts) hit the deck twice, courtesy of some impressive power punching, before being stopped. Huck, the No. 1 rated cruiserweight behind RING champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez, was in terrific form, adding layers to his performance as the rounds passed, as he utilized a decisive edge in speed.
The champion didn’t have it all his own way though, as the 43-year-old Arslan advanced in earnest behind an exaggerated high guard and pumped out punches from his southpaw stance. There were times when Huck (37-2-1, 26 knockouts) appeared very uncomfortable with the pace, but he let his hands fly and extracted a toll at opportune moments.
Huck initially had a lot of trouble penetrating his countryman’s defenses, but from Round 3 onward he began landing impressively to the body with lead rights, whipped the right hook around the guard and matched the challenger with some brutal uppercuts on the inside.
As with their first fight, the action was difficult to score, but the challenger began to slow down in Round 4, as Huck increased the power of his punches. Instead of walking straight in, there were times when Arslan, THE RING's No. 7 cruiserweight, was taking a breather and his opponent seemed to sense hesitancy.
Suddenly in Round 6, Huck scored a huge right lead to the head, which set up a sustained two-fisted barrage. Scores of power shots were landing with alarming accuracy and the challenger appeared too disorientated to defend himself, as he crashed to the canvas in a heap.
He rose gamely but Huck smelled blood and continued to unload with brutal shots, as Arslan struggled to regain his equilibrium. Another right hand floored the challenger at center ring and, seconds after beating the count, Arslan found himself trapped in a neutral corner.
The champion violently unloaded at will and forced the referee’s timely intervention.
Over the last two years, Huck has been scraping by with majority decisions but tonight’s performance will give him a much-needed confidence boost. He has now defended his cruiserweight title on 12 occasions, and wins over Arslan, Denis Lebedev and Ola Afolabi are to be respected.
Indeed the only blemish on Huck’s resume in the last seven years is a WBA heavyweight title defeat to Alexander Povetkin, and that was one very competitive contest.
The aforementioned Hernandez, who holds the IBF title, could be next up for Huck.
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing