By Ian S Palmer
IBO Cruiserweight Champions Marco Huck of Serbia will be facing unbeaten contender Mairis Briedis of Latvia this Saturday, April 1st in a 12-round bout which is also for the interim WBC World Title in Dortmund, Germany. Fans in the UK can catch the bout live on BoxNation. Huck was last in the ring back in November when he beat Dmytro Kucher by a 12-round unanimous decision. Briedis’ last fight was a third-round stoppage over Simon Vallily in October. Briedis is currently ranked number one in the cruiserweight division by the WBC.
The 32-year-old Huck, who fights out of Germany, will climb through the ring ropes with a record of 40-3-1 along with 27 Kos. He’s also a former WBO Cruiserweight Champion, but lost that title by an 11th-round stoppage to Krzysztof Glowacki in September of 2015. Huck has won two in a row since then with wins over Olaf Afolabi and Kucher. Tony Bellew is the current WBC champ, but he might vacate the title if he decides to continue to fight as a heavyweight. If that happens, the winner of the Huck vs Briedis tilt could be named the new WBC Champion.
Huck is ready to find again after hurting his hand the last time out against Kucher and it will need to be 100 per cent healed if he’s going to be successful against Briedis. Huck likes to be the aggressor in the ring and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe, but Briedis is also a heavy hitter with plenty of skills. Huck might be better off to try and box Briedis rather than slug it out with him. Huck has been stopped twice in his career, so we know his chin is susceptible. Glowacki stopped him and so did Steve Cunningham in the 12th round in 2007. His other loss was a 12-round majority decision to Alexander Povetkin in 2012 and his draw was a 12-round affair with Afolabi in his next fight.
Huck is 6-feet-2-inches tall with a reach of 77 inches and has fought 336 rounds since turning pro in 2004. He has good hand speed and an excellent jab, but his best asset still may be his chin even though he’s been stopped twice. He’s not the most fluid and flexible boxer around though, but was attempting to set a cruiserweight record of 14 successful title defences when Glowacki beat him. However, he’s still tied with Johnny Nelson of England at 13 straight defences. Huck is most effective when he fights on the inside and uses his aggression. He’s a heavy hitter and has a current knockout ratio of 61 per cent.
Briedis is also 32 years old and has a perfect record of 21-0 along with 18 Kos and has stopped his last seven opponents. His biggest wins have been against contender Olanrewaju Durodola by a ninth-round stoppage in 2016 and a fifth-round stoppage of heavyweight Manuel Charr back in 2015. Briedis turned pro in 2009and has fought just 79 rounds since then. He’s an inch shorter than Huck at 6-foot-1 and reportedly has an 80-inch reach. As his record shows, he’s got a lot of power with a current knockout ratio of 86 per cent.
Just what the fans like, another tossup fight. Huck has more experience against tougher opposition and is the hometown fighter, but he’s been stopped twice. And let’s not forget he’s facing a huge puncher here in Briedis. This fight will be decided by Huck’s chin. He’s not what you’d call a refined boxer, but he doesn’t pretend to be. He usually outworks and outlands his opponents and that’s why he’s been so successful so far in his career. Huck’s physically and mentally strong and that’s why he’s been beaten just three times, but he’ll be stopped if his chin doesn’t hold out. That being said, look for Huck to somehow win the fight and interim title.
This is another fight which is close enough to take a chance on the underdog Huck.