By Alexey Sukachev
Berlin, Germany - In the first bout of the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight tournament, Oleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) scored a tenth round stoppage of former champion Marco Huck (40-5-1, 27 KOs) to retain the WBO cruiserweight title.
Usyk will now have to face the winner of the September 30th clash between WBC champion Mairis Briedis and Mike Perez, which takes place in Latvia.
The tournament has been given to us by Comosa AG - a specifically created franchise, which has familiar names of Richard Schaefer and Sauerland Event behind it - is a play-off style tournament between the certain division's best fighters. The tournament formula has previously proved to be successful in both long-time and short-period formats.
In round one, Usyk, 30 years old, stayed at the distance, using his excellent footwork to avoid long, lean power shots of the former WBO cruiserweight champion. Huck was reserved and fought behind his trademark high guard. Huck exploded during the last minute of the round, landing several hard shots on the gloves of Usyk, wisely attached to he back of his head, as the German tried to apply his well-known dirty tactics to distract the Ukrainian. Usyk retaliated with body shots.
The second saw the champion utilizing his potent southpaw jab to keep Huck at bay. The Kapt'n was powerful enough to make his way throw those connections but not enough power to trouble Usyk on the inside. The Ukrainian bombed Huck during the last minute of the round and hurt him at the ropes with several straight left hands. Usyk's jab was at is prettiest in the third, as he peppered the veteran one-two-three more times. WBO #9 and TBRB #10 Huck tried straight right hands against the Ukrainian southpaw but landed few, as the champion perfectly controlled the distance, forcing the German to miss badly. Usyk exploded with short left power punches at the end of the round. Huck was pinned to the ropes and lucky not to go down after several clear landings.
Clinches appeared as a new weapon for Huck in the fourth. But to apply clinch you should be near your opponent, and Huck had increasingly harder time getting in throw major right jab of Usyk. The German landed a huge right hand to warn Usyk at the end of the second minute of the round, but the Ukrainian retaliated with hard damaging blows, once again pummeling the veteran fighter around the ring. Usyk was the boss of the fifth, as he kept stalking Huck and pinning him with big left hands. The challenger's outbursts were scarce, producing little effect on his onrushing opponent. The end of the round saw Huck reeling, with the smiling Ukrainian landing one punch after another.
The sixth wasn't a busy round for both. Usyk looked for a short pause, and Huck was battered enough where he was unable to produce meaningful offensive against the Ukrainian. However, in the seventh, the battering continued for the 32-year old German Bosnian, whose birth name is Muamer Hukic. Usyk was all over Huck during the last two minutes of the round, dealing damage to the German, playing with him, beating him to the punch.
The Battery continued into the eighth, as Usyk was once again all over Huck. Marco showed solid chin and will to withstand the champion's attacks and to retaliate, though the counter fire was sparse. Usyk tried to went in for kill after landing a huge left bomb at the end of the round but he slipped, and the German immediately hit him with a right hand while Usyk was down. Referee Robert Byrd interrupted the action and deducted a point from Huck.
The Ukrainian continued to humiliate Huck in the ninth, and the German's mild successes were becoming increasingly rare. Huck was landing punches below the beltline yet he was hurt several times in the ninth. Usyk mixed body shots and head punches to double the effect
The logic end of a one-sided beatdown was reached in the tenth round. Usyk applied a non-stop aggression towards Huck, missing almost zero punches and landing them at will. Huck, his face reddened, had been wobbling around the ring in pain for two minutes, before the referee finally waved it off at 2:50 of the tenth.
Usyk, a 2011 world amateur champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist for Ukraine as well as a part of the golden Ukrainian squad, retained his WBO belt for the third time and further cemented his place at the top of the 200lb ranks. Huck, who saw too many hard fights over the course of his 14-year career (Usyk is competing for less than four years as a pro), can be hanging them up after his second consecutive loss
The second quarterfinal is an explosive showdown between WBA regular champion Yunier Dorticos (21-0, 20 KOs) and feared one-punch kayo artist Dmitry Kudryashov (21-1, 21 KOs), which will be held in two weeks in San Antonio, Texas, and the fourth one will see IBF champion Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) against Polish veteran and former two-time champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs) at the Prudential Center in Newark on October 21. The super middleweight series will start in just a week with Callum Smith versus Eric Skoglund showdown.