By Jake Donovan
Upwards of 100 media outlets were represented during the final press conference for the upcoming cruiserweight title fight rematch between Marco Huck and Firat Arslan. The in-ring Civil War between the German cruiserweights has quickly evolved into a massive event, with more than 10,000 fans expected in attendance for Saturday’s show at Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, Germany.
Huck (36-2-1, 25KO) makes the 12th defense of the cruiserweight belt he won more than four years ago. Several of his defenses have resulted in disputed outcomes, including his first fight with Arslan in Nov. ’12. Few gave Arslan, 42 years old at the time, much of a chance, but the perceived hand-picked challenger offered the performance of his career, only to come up short in the end.
Their rematch was supposed to take place last September, only for Huck to suffer a hairline fracture on his left elbow, forcing the postponement. Given the turnout for the final presser, strong ticket sales and the fight being televised in over 60 countries, it appears that anticipation has made the hearts of German boxing fans grow fonder.
“Without exaggeration I can say that in terms of media interest, this is the biggest all-German fight since Henry Maske and Graciano Rocchigiani (who met twice in 1995),” insists promoter Kalle Sauerland. “Words have flown around the stage at (Wednesday’s) press conference. On Saturday, fists will be flying inside the ring. The first fight was spectacular and I expect the same again on Saturday night.”
With the postponement of the rematch, each fighter only saw one ring appearance in 2013.
Arslan has since returned to the win column, scoring a 10-round decision in a stay-busy fight last April. However, the stay-busy factor didn’t quite serve its purpose; the challenger has since turned 43 and will be nine months inactive come Saturday evening.
None of that has diminished his belief that his destiny will be fulfilled.
“I believe in justice,” Arslan (33-6-2, 21KO) says of Saturday’s rematch. “As fate would have it, justice was not given to me in the first fight. On Saturday I will finally get some justice.
“Marco can talk all he wants but at the end of the day this won’t help him at Schleyer-Halle – all the fans will see this on Saturday.”
Huck’s lone bout and title defense on the year came in a third fight with Ola Afolabi, scoring a narrow decision in their title fight last June to go 2-0-1 in their series. All three of their bouts were closely contested, all resulting in Huck leaving the ring as champion.
The 29-year old envisions the same scenario playing out Saturday evening, this time in a far more conclusive manner.
“I am the champion and I will still be champion after Saturday night,” Huck promises. “Although Firat has unmatched stamina, he cannot box and I will prove that on Saturday.
“My preparations have been excellent. From the start of my training I have had to miss a lot of parties and for that Firat must pay. I am looking forward to an unforgettable show.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox