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 interview, he speaks about his chances to sink Capt’n Huck’s Battleship.
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 mould 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 defences as a world champion, ending my career on a high. But this will all be decided come November 3.