Firat Arslan knows time is running out on his bid to earn another cruiserweight title given he turns 44 in September.
A former WBA beltholder, Arslan will get a shot at doing so on Saturday when he faces RING champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez, who will also be defending his IBF belt at Erfurt Exhibition Hall in Thuringen, Germany.
“I want to become the oldest cruiserweight champion of all time,” said Arslan. “I know that this is my last chance at glory and I did everything in preparation to make my dream come true.”
Arslan (34-7-2, 21 knockouts) won the WBA title by split. decision over Valery Brudov in June 2007, defended it via unanimous decisions over ex-beltholder Virgil Hill and Darnell Wilson in November 2007 and May 2008, respectively, and lost it by 10th-round stoppage to Guillermo Jones in September 2008.
In his last fight in June, Arslan earned a unanimous decision over Tamas Bajzath that helped him rebound from a sixth round stoppage loss to WBO beltholder Marco Huck in a rematch of Huck’s unanimous decision victory in November 2012.
“Coach Fritz Sdunek is going to be my key factor against Hernandez,” said Arslan. “When I fought Huck for the second time, I made many mistakes, which are not going to happen again. You will see my best performance ever on Saturday.”
In his last fight in November, Hernandez (28-1, 14 KOs) scored knockdowns in the second, fifth and final rounds of a 10th-round stoppage over Alexander Alekseev, earning his 14th straight victory
“I have trained careful with my focus being completely on the task ahead this Saturday night. I did not have this kind of focus for my last fights,” said Hernandez. “I had to battle many problems outside of the ring. I almost give up but my wife and my coach motivated me not to let myself go. Now I am stronger than ever. August 16 will be my proving point.”