By Alexey Sukachev
Firat Arslan's dream to become one of the oldest champions in the history of the game and, by doing that, avenge his highly questionable loss to long-time WBO cruiserweight champion Marko Huck - crashed into pieces at Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, Germany. Fighting on his home turf, the 43-year old veteran gave his all but was stopped with 5 seconds remaining in the sixth round. It most probably means the end of the day for the former WBA cruiserweight champion.
A late bloomer, Arslan kicked off the fight as he always does. He ran into Huck, 29, throwing multiple combinations, relying - as always - on his tremendous character and punch rate. Huck covered well behind a shell guard. He was hit often but kept his composure under heavy fire from the Germany-based Turk.
The #1 WBO-rated fighter used hooks and uppercuts (not so often) but his body punches were seen not as frequent as they were in their first fight. Huck, oppositely, used his body punching well to prevent Arslan from driving on even higher-octane attacks. The Turk was better in the first three rounds but only marginally. Meanwhile, Huck, while bursting not as often, dealt some damage to the nose of Arslan.
The challenger started to slow down in the fourth. Huck, on the other hand found a soft spot in Arslan's defense - his ankles were spread too wide, allowing Huck's uppercut to penetrate his defense time and again. Huck used his usual roughhouse tactics, and referee Mark Nelson allowed him to get away with those violations. Huck landed several low blows in rounds three and four, and also pushed his opponent around, forcing Arslan to lose even more energy. The German was specifically active and successful in the fifth. Arslan, on the other hand, lost his steam and ate more punches.
The sixth was a breakthrough and an end. Arslan jumped on Huck but his punches were weak and predictable. Not so was a counter right hook to the whiskers of Arslan, which forced his knees to buckle momentarily. He moved backwards, and Huck issued a multi-punch combination with a straight right hand at the end to put Arslan down for the first time. He got up in pain and unleashed a flurry of his own only to be rocked with another right hand and dropped down again. He rose on unsteady legs, and the champion was all over him. Trapped in the corner, Arslan ate several clear shots, allowing the referee to jump in at 2:55.
Arslan's long road is at the very end. He is 33-7-2, with 21 KOs now. Marko Huck defends his WBO belt for the 12th time and improves to 37-2-1, with 26 KOs.