WBO Cruiserweight Champion Marco “Captain” Huck had a special present for his opponent at today´s final press conference in Berlin. The 26-year-old gave mandatory challenger Denis Lebedev a plastic belt. “It´s Christmas time and I don´t want you to leave Berlin empty-handed,” Huck said to the stunned Russian. “This belt is for you. The real belt will stay here. You will never get it.”
On December 18th, the two hard-hitting cruiserweights will lock horns at Berlin´s Max-Schmeling-Halle. While Huck (30-1, 23 KOs) has already made four successful title defenses, Lebedev rides a perfect record of 21-0 with 16 KOs into the biggest fight of his life. “I am no big talker, I will show my power inside the ring,” was all he said on the podium today. His coach Valery Belov added: “We are not scared of anybody or anything and we are prepared for a big challenge on Saturday night.”
Hall-of-Fame-Promoter Wilfried Sauerland expects fireworks from both men come Saturday. “We know that Lebedev is a very strong challenger,” he said. “But Marco has progressed very well. Normally I get nervous one day before a fight, but I am already nervous now. It will be a great fight and I am sure Marco will leave the ring as the winner.”
Coach Ulli Wegner is also confident. “After Arthur Abraham´s big loss in Helsinki, Marco needs to win one for the team now,” he said. “He has worked well in practice. It was not easy to keep his temper under control but that is fine – if I only had boxers who were easy to guide I would look ten years younger. Marco has worked out very well and if he sticks to the game plan on Saturday night he will win and finish this year in style.”
On the undercard, Yoan Pablo Hernandez will face Ali Ismailov in a WBA Cruiserweight Eliminator, while Alexander Povetkin will take on Nicolai Firtha. Kubrat Pulev comes face-to-face with Paolo Vidoz, and Francesco Pianeta takes on Mike Middleton.