By Jake Donovan
In an attempt to tie the record for most cruiserweight title defenses, Marco Huck returns to the place where it all begin, and against an opponent who feels there is unfinished business between the two.
Huck guns for a record-tying 13th defense of his WBO cruiserweight belt as he faces Mirko Larghetti. The bout takes place on August 30 at Gerry Weber Stadium In Halle, Westfalen, Germany, the same venue that played host to Huck's title win over Victor Emiio Ramirez nearly five years ago.
The two were scheduled to collide this past March, only for Huck (37-2-1, 26KOs) to have to withdraw due to an injury. Larghetti has since taken on a tune-up while waiting for what he believes is a long overdue title shot.
"I was ready then and I am even more ready now," insists Larghetti (21-0, 13KOs), 31, who fights for the first time both for a title and outside of Italy. "Hopefully Huck is more careful with his hands this time. I want to show him - and the boxing fans - that I am a better fighter, and the man to put an end to his title reign."
There have been plenty of ups and downs during the five-year reign of Huck, though not unlike the man he pursues in the record books. Johnny Nelson currently holds the mark for most successful title defenses, although he had his share of controversial outcomes, including a split decision win over Vincenzo Cantatore in Italy for his record-extending 13th defense before retiring shortly thereafter.
Huck has been on both ends of odd decisions, including a 2012 campaign filled with disputed outcomes - a narrow points loss in a heavyweight title bid versus Alexander Povetkin that most felt Huck should have won; a 12-round draw with Ola Afolabi in the second of a three-fight series that saw close outcomes each time out; and a controversial points win over Firat Arslan.
The win over Arslan - which also took place at Gerry Weber Stadium - grew the greatest outrage, in part because Huck was a massive favorite to upend the then-42 year old former titlist. The two settled their differences earlier this year, with Huck scoring an emphatic 6th round stoppage this past January, his most recent fight to date.
"This will be Larghetti's first and last world title fight. When I am done with him he will wish not ever having shared the ring with me," vows Huck, 29, born in Serbia before relocating to Germany, where he has spent his entire career. "I will make spaghetti out of Larghetti!"
Tickets go on sale Monday, July 7, and can be purchased via www.gerryweber-world.de and www.eventim.de.
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