By Ian S Palmer
Former IBO, WBO and European Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck of Serbia will be facing unbeaten WBO Champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine in the World Boxing Super Series at the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin, Germany this Saturday, September 9th. Huck last fought in April when he lost his title to Mairis Briedis of Latvia via a 12-round unanimous decision. Usyk’s last outing also took place in April when he beat Michael Hunter by a 12-round unanimous decision.
The 32-year-old Huck, who fights out of Germany, will climb through the ring ropes with a record of 40-4-1 along with 27 Kos. He lost his WBO Cruiserweight Title by an 11th-round stoppage to Krzysztof Glowacki in September of 2015 then beat Olaf Afolabi and Dmytro Kucher for the IBO Championship before losing to Briedis. Huck injured his hand against Kucher, but it appeared to have healed against Briedis despite his loss.
Huck likes to be the aggressor in the ring and isn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe, but Usyk is also a heavy hitter with plenty of skills. Therefore Huck might want to think twice about getting into a toe-to-toe brawl with his younger opponent. 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 while his draw was a 12-round affair in his first of three meetings with Afolabi in his next fight after losing to Povetkin.
Huck stands 6-feet-2-inches tall with a reach of 77 inches and has fought 338 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 60 per cent. Huck’s style is quite fan friendly as he isn’t shy about slugging it out when he has to. He sometimes gets goaded into brawls when he may be better off trying to use his boxing skills. He’s taken on some good opponents with his biggest wins being over Afolabi (three times) and Firat Arslan twice as well as Denis Lebedev and Brian Minto.
Usyk is 30 year old and has a perfect record of 12-0 along with 10 Kos. He won the WBO Title by beating Glowacki by unanimous decision last September in Poland. He then defended it against Thabiso Mchunu with a ninth-round stoppage three months later and again against Hunter in April. Usyk is a 6-foot-3-inch southpaw who has a reach of 78 inches which gives him an inch height and reach advantage. He turned pro back in 2013 and has boxed 83 rounds since then.
Usyk has good power as his current knockout ratio stands at 83 per cent. The only men to last the distance with him were Hunter and Glowacki. Usyk also has victories over some relative unknowns over in Europe. Usyk had an excellent amateur career as he competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China and then won the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 2012 Games in London. He also won bronze and gold at World Amateur Championship tournaments in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Huck has more experience against tougher opposition as a pro and is the hometown fighter here, but he’s been stopped twice. And let’s not forget he’s facing a huge puncher here in Usyk, who also has excellent mobility. This fight will be decided by Huck’s chin and Usyk’s power unless Huck can outwork and out land the champion. I expect Usyk to still be the champion when all is said and done.