People can expect a real fight to happen at Gerry Weber Stadium come November 3. Cruiserweight World Champion Marco Huck (34-2-1, 25 KOs) will try to defend his beloved belt for the tenth time to gain Super-Champion-Status of the World Boxing Organization. In contrast, his challenger Firat Arslan (32-5-2, 21 KOs) could again rise to stardom, as he was already the WBA World Champion at this weight class. In the following interviews, Arslan speaks about his chances to sink Capt’n Huck’s Battleship, and Huck speaks on defending that championship yet again.
Firat Arslan Interview
Firat Arslan, how did you prepare for the fight against Marco Huck?
Firat Arslan: I sparred more rounds in training than ever before. I had ten sparring partners – normally before a fight, I just sparred with three or four. I also raised the intensity as I finished my training camp having absolved 160 rounds of sparring compared to 80, which I did back in the day. This should give me more flexibility in the fight. But one is thing for sure, nobody can copy Marco Huck. There is a reason why he is the current WBO Champion. But the guys I sparred with were all young and eager to prove a point. I can confirm that they did a great job.
Are there other things you changed during the preparation?
Firat Arslan: We tried to break the mold for the most important fight in my career. We used a special heavy bag that enabled me to work on my accuracy. I also had a special training tool to strengthen my lungs. I know that some boxing experts have already written me off but on November 3, I will try to prove them wrong.
Which critics do you mean?
Firat Arslan: I am honest. I am already 42 years of age and some people think I only took this fight because of the money, but that is definitely not the case. I did not try to make a big profit out of it. It is just about the sport. I believe in becoming a world champion again and I know that I am on top of my game. That is why I wanted this fight. I want to fight the best and Marco Huck certainly is one of the best. I am looking forward to this bout.
Did you have any other opportunities to fight?
Firat Arslan: There were some other possibilities to fight but it is my aim to fight for a world championship. Those other options would have got me to where I want to be. Marco Huck is a big name on the boxing scene, so this fight makes sense for me. I have a lot of respect for him – respect I don’t have for the other champions in the cruiserweight division, as they do not want to face me.
Please tell us about your strategy for the fight on November 3.
Firat Arslan: Marco Huck is one of the biggest punchers in this weight class and he is 15 years younger than me. Nevertheless, I am going for the win. I promise to fight my heart out, which is my mentality. I think that I have a big advantage over him as my teams focus is completely on me. When you are with a big boxing promotion, there is often only one coach who looks after a handful of athletes. Moreover, I do not think that there is a more professional surrounding than where I train. I want to win. Everything else I will show inside the ring.
It is common knowledge that rivals in boxing are not friendly with each other. Therefore, it comes as a surprise that Marco Huck and you have mutual appreciation for each other.
Firat Arslan: This is true. Maybe Marco does not come across as a good guy – but in reality he is. That is the sport of boxing. When you have the chance to make such a fight you have to go for it. There is only one person I would never step into the ring with: Luan Krasniqi. He is like a brother to me.
What kind of a fight do you expect at Gerry Weber Stadium?
Firat Arslan: I am confident that it will be a great fight. Marco has an unorthodox style which I have to deal with. But that is nothing new to me. I am prepared for everything, regardless of what he will do inside the ring. I know what to do and will force my own style on him. It will be firm but fair. That is what I also expect of Marco as we both respect each other.
This will be a virtual home match for Marco Huck. How will you deal with that?
Firat Arslan: Of course most of the fans will be cheering for him. However, we cannot expect him to come to my backyard. We are prepared for that situation, so it will not bother me. I have been part of this business for such a long time so I know that it will only be Marco, the referee and me inside the ring. Then the fists will do the talking, not the crowd!
Would you retire, if you should lose the fight against Marco Huck?
Firat Arslan: Losing is not on my mind, so I haven’t even thought about that. You will have to wait until after the bout to get your answer.
And if you are going to win? Would that be a reason for you to hang up the gloves?
Firat Arslan: I believe in winning this fight. I am in top shape. And as long as I have the ability to fight on such a level, I do not think about retirement. I could still have some title defenses as a world champion, ending my career on a high. But this will all be decided come November 3.
Marco Huck Interview
Marco Huck, your last fight was back in May. After the bout, it was announced that you would take a longer break, which you did. Was that the right move?
Marco Huck: It definitely was. I didn’t really have a lot of time off ahead of the May 5 fight in Erfurt, which showed during the bout. Now my batteries are fully charged and I cannot wait to get back into the ring. I can feel the itch in my fists. The fight against Afolabi wasn’t easy for me. In my opinion that was due to the fact that I fought for the heavyweight championship just a few months earlier which also was a tough fight. But at
the end, I got through it and kept my cruiserweight title. Now my whole focus is on the tenth defense of the WBO Championship.
Your next opponent is Firat Arslan who you will face on November 3 who is a former world champion. How dangerous is he?
Marco Huck: First of all, I have to say, that I really like Firat. He got into boxing at a very late age but fought through all the odds. I have a lot of respect for his accomplishments. Added to that, he is a very nice person.
This is a completely new situation for me. I didn’t like many of my former opponents. But facing someone whom you appreciate for his success and his attitude is an unusual scenario for me. I am not underestimating him at all. I know for a fact that he would be a dangerous opposition for all the cruiserweights out there. I actually believe that he would win against every single world champion in this division – except of me. I will make sure that he won’t. I’m not surprised that no one apart of me wanted to fight him in a championship bout.
What did you pay special attention to during your preparations for Arslan?
Marco Huck: The training hasn’t really changed that much. The only difference is that it is more intense which helped my ability to concentrate during a though battle. It is harder to focus on something when you start
getting tired. I did quite well during training. Of course, it requires a lot of self-discipline.
Another new situation for you must have been that the attention of coach Ulli Wegner was pretty much just on you. Apart of Robert Helenius who joined you in Neuruppin, none of your teammates was present at the training camps in Mallorca and Brandenburg. How did you like that?
Marco Huck: To be honest I really enjoyed that and it shows how much the coach appreciates me. If it would be up to me, it would always be like that. That way you can focus more on the task at hand and the sessions are much more intense. Nevertheless, my training group needs him to in order to be as successful as me. And they need a great coach like Ulli Wegner to guide them to the top. He even managed to get me to train when the lights at the gym are already turned off.
Would you say that you are in the best shape of your life?
Marco Huck: I don’t really know at this point. I will be able to tell you come November 3. However, I am sure it will turn out to be a convincing victory for me. But I have to put on display what I have worked on during
the preparations. That is why I am looking forward to be fighting Firat Arslan. The fans will be able to see for themselves if I have developed.
The fans can obviously expect a lot of you during the fight. But would you also say that you have developed on a personal level over the last few years?
Marco Huck: I let the people around me be the judge of that. I think that you develop through all your past challenges and the tasks at hand, not just on a professional but also a personal level. Nevertheless, I also believe that many people have a wrong opinion of me and don’t see the person I really am. My image is one of a badass who always speaks his mind. Of course, there are other sides to me as well.
What will be the outcome of your fight against Firat Arslan?
Marco Huck: The fans will witness one hell of a fight. Many people might have written off Firat Arslan but I certainly have not. Just the way he is preparing himself for the fight against me is prove enough that he is going
to be one tough cookie. I have to beat him – there is no way around it. I want to become the WBO Super Champion and in order to do so I need to be victorious.