By James Tonks
WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck discusses his upcoming rematch with Firat Arslan, scheduled for January 25th. He also talks about his performance in the first meeting with Arslan and much more.
You were born in Serbia but live and fight in Germany - Can you tell us a little about your background?
My family moved to Germany when I was nine years old and I started doing sports like Taekwondo and Kickboxing there. When I was 19, I started my professional boxing career and here I am – the WBO Cruiserweight World Champion with eleven title defenses to my name!
Do you have any plans to fight in your birthplace of Serbia any time in the future?
This is up to my promoter Sauerland Event but it is not that realistic due to monetary reasons.
You are fighting on January 25th against Firat Arslan at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart. Why did Team Huck choose this fight? Were there any other names you were looking at?
My Promoter Sauerland Event thought that a rematch against Arslan would be in my best interest. The way I see it is that we delivered an action-packed fight – something fight fans want to see. So now we are doing it again. Of course, unifications would be great and would probably secure my place as one of the best cruiserweights ever, but there is not much space for negotiating with the other champions. When such a fight is proposed they should know that I am the A-side – not them. My drawing power brings the money on the table – not them. If those other belt holders really want to fight me they should take a cut as a 50/50 deal won’t happen anytime soon. The truth is that they are afraid. The exclusion out of this discussion would be IBF Champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez as we share the same coach.
How is your training going and how would you compare it to previous training camps?
I did suffer an injury, just the week, before the fight against Arslan should had taken place on September 14. I really felt to be in great shape if not for this injury. Afterwards, I did do some road work to keep my stamina up and got back to my normal training regime in the first week of November. Currently, I feel already as good as when I suffered the injury, so Arslan should be aware of me being even better prepared as when we would have fought back in September. You could already see in my last match against Afolabi that I am still a work in progress with the sky being the limit.
You already fought and beat Firat Arslan a little over a year ago. What can you tell us about the first fight? Were you happy with your performance?
It was not my best performance but still enough to take a well-deserved victory. I may have underestimated him a bit and therefore gave him the chance to look better against me than he would have if I would have taken him more serious. This time I will show up with my game-face. He may well retire after I am finished with him.
Arslan was 42 when you fought him in 2012, due to his age did you underestimate him?
As I said, I may have. The truth is that he is now 43 years of age when I am 29. He deteriorates when I am about to come into my prime. He may still be near the level he was when we fought in November 2012, but it will not be enough to beat me.
I am from UK and I watch the German fights on the Internet. For an outsider watching; the German broadcasters really do put on a fantastic show. The ring walks and the build up are fantastic, the German fight fans love their boxing and make lots of noise. How much do you enjoy the atmosphere and fighting in Germany in front of your fans?
It always gets me pumped up when the fans are screaming my name or booing me. Actually, I enjoy both sides – the people who cheer me and the ones who are against me. In the end, fight fans know what can be expected when I step into the ring – a fight to remember.
Germany has a reputation of giving away fighters unfair treatment due to poor judging, premature stoppages and biased refereeing. I was wonder what your views were on the treatment of away fighters? Do you agree or is the fight fans perception wrong?
Really? Go and ask Ola Afolabi as he should know best because I fought him three times. Just take a look at the international press: they saw me as a winner in the first and third fight. The second meeting was judged a draw which also nobody complained about. The other points you bring up are also a false perception and an urban myth. Germany is no different than the UK or the US.
What do you hope to achieve in the rest of your career, and do you have a timescale to reach your goals?
Become a unified champion, maybe going up to heavyweight again and win a world championship like Holyfield or Haye have done. I know that there are some goals to accomplish but I am still young to make all of this happen.
Do you have a message for the fans?
Keep on cheering, keep on booing! I try my best inside the ring to entertain you.
James Tonks covers boxing for www.ringnews24.com