The rematch is just around the corner. Once again Marco Huck (34-2, 25 KOs) and Ola Afolabi (19-2-3, 9 KOs) will fight it out for the WBO Cruiserweight World championship, this time at the Messehalle in Erfurt on May 5. In December 2009, the two athletes squared off in Ludwigsburg. Back then Huck won an exciting bout by unanimous decision. Two-and-a-half years later both men believe that they have grown and developed into better boxers. May 5 will show who really has put in the work since then.
The current champion is aware of the fact that his opponent is stronger than before. “He must have developed since our last meeting, otherwise he wouldn´t be the mandatory challenger for my belt,” said Huck. “But I myself have become a better boxer in comparison to two years ago. With each fight I become wiser and more experienced.” Afolabi is also adamant that he is a much improved fighter than he was in their previous face-off. “I wasn´t completely prepared to take on Huck in our last fight,” he stated. “But now I have a new coach in Fritz Sdunek who has taught me so many things. He made me a more complete fighter.” But nevertheless he is well aware of his opponent’s strengths. ”He doesn´t have many weaknesses. He is a very solid fighter and keeps coming forward.” According to Afolabi, he does see himself having the advantage on the night. “We are both better fighters than in the first fight, it is just that I have learned many more things than he has."
But all eyes will not just be on the two main acts of the night. The duel between the two legends of German boxing, the coaches Ulli Wegner and Fritz Sdunek, who will once again cross paths, will also be fascinating. On one side Wegner will do everything in his power to ensure that prodigy Marco Huck remains champion, while on the other hand Sdunek will be looking to take Huck´s belt off him with his man Afolabi. Asked who is the better coach, both fighters saw their respective just a nod in front. “I couldn´t be any happier than having Ulli Wegner on my side,” said the German whose reign as champion with Ulli Wegner by his side started back in August of 2009. Afolabi believes that Sdunek has the upper hand. “I have a lot of respect for Ulli Wegner, but I have to say Fritz because of everything he has taught me.”
Both fighters see themselves having the edge over the other and both are convinced that the match-up will end in their favor. “I will be the world champion and will take the title with me,” said the interim-champion. “I am much stronger and my punch is much harder, it will not go the distance.” But for Huck everything else than a victory is out of the question. “I know that I will win this one again. This time I will be even more convincing,” said the champion. “He should be prepared for an early end to his night.”
Lee Selby has been boosted by training alongside the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter Floyd Mayweather ahead of his Welsh homecoming on Friday 25th May at the Newport Sports Centre.
The Barry star has just finished a training stint at Mayweather’s Las Vegas gym as he prepares for his Commonwealth Featherweight title defence against Patrick Okine which is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).
Selby also saw first hand Mayweather’s preparations for his super-fight against Miguel Cotto which takes place this Saturday (5th May) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and is also live on BoxNation.
“It was a fantastic trip and well worth it to be in the same same gym as the number one boxer in the world,” said the 25-year-old who created a huge upset last September when he beat Stephen Smith.
“I worked a lot with Floyd’s uncle and trainer Roger Mayweather on the pads and he showed me plenty of new things as well as getting plenty of world class sparring with guys in the gym like unbeaten Australian featherweight Joel Brunker who’s number three in the world,”
“The experience of being around the best fighters in the world has really opened my eyes and given me the motivation to be the best that I can be in my career,”
“Before I left I had my photo taken with Floyd and he wished me luck and said he’d keep a look out for me on the internet to see how my career goes and that I was welcome back to the gym anytime, which is real nice,”
“They allowed us to stay and watch Floyd’s training for the Cotto fight and it was awe-inspiring stuff,”
“He’s looking as sharp as a razor and is super fit, I saw him doing eight minute rounds sparring with only a 15 second rest in between, he’s unbelievable,”
“Cotto’s tough and is his best challenger so far, but Floyd’s just on a different level to anyone and I can see him stopping Cotto late or on points.”
He’ll need all the benefits from training with Mayweather against the dynamite punching Ghanaian Okine who has stopped nine out of his 11 winning victories early. Okine is currently on a KO run with his last five fights all ending early.
Selby, who also holds the British title which won’t be on the line, added, “Obviously Okine’s a hard puncher, but this doesn’t bother me, I’m in the business of facing hard punchers,”
“He’s only got one loss on points to Emmanuel Tagoe who’s a good fighter himself so it’s going to be a tough job for me, but no one is going to upset my first fight in Wales for nearly a year,”
“These African’s are tough, hard, boys and I’ve sparred with plenty, but this is the first in my career. I can see myself winning by late stoppage or points.”
Selby v Okine for the Commonwealth Featherweight Championship headlines an action packed card that also features some of Britain’s best unbeaten prospects: Birmingham welterweight Frankie Gavin, super-featherweight Craig Evans, light-welterweights Lewis Rees and Francis Robinson and middleweight Liam Williams.
Tickets priced at £40, £50 and £60 are available from the Frank Warren Promotions Box Office on 01992 550 888, Newport Sports Centre Box Office on 01633 656 757 or online at www.frankwarren.tv
Selby v Okine will be live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) on Friday 25th May.
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