Marco Huck came one step closer to breaking Johnny Nelson's record of 13 successful WBO cruiserweight defences with his sixth-round stoppage of Firat Arslan on Saturday evening.
It was the 26th knockout of Huck's career, and it raised his record to 37-2-1, per BoxRec.
For the second time in his career, Huck defeated his older countryman, but this time he did it in far more convincing fashion than the unanimous decision that occurred in November 2012.
The early stages of the bout left one thinking that Arslan might take something away from Stuttgart, Germany, but a defensive ploy would prove unsustainable as Huck went on to hammer down the doors and force his own path to victory.
German reporter Carolin Bluechel testified to the quality of the two giants involved:
The fight took on a lot of the same aspects that made up its first edition, with Arslan keeping things tight in the opening rounds and leaving Huck to do a lot of the pressing.
It's a strategy that was befitting of both fighters. At 43 years old, Arslan could not chase such a fit opponent and risk losing stamina early on.
In kind, 29-year-old Huck attempted to pick and run as he saw fit, and his coaches told him to take things "step by step." The tactic worked to good effect for the most part, but Arslan's defence stood firm.
Frustrations began to show for the challenger in the third round, however, and after staging a foray forward, Arslan was sent sprawling to the canvas. Huck had gotten in under his chest slightly and used the veteran's own momentum to force a slip.
"Kapt'n" was equal to the pressure, but at this point Arslan started to shift things in his favour, landing several choice hooks to the head of his foe while skipping back and holding his guard high.
At the halfway point, the fight remained close. It was almost impossible to pick a points leader between the two, with a selection of controversial blows beginning to veer below the belt from both boxers.
Whereas Huck persevered with throwing his punches in flurries, Arslan was content with throwing slower but more meaningful attempts. In truth, neither Huck nor Arslan was landing with particular potency, but the frequency of the exchanges was extraordinary.
Finally, in the sixth round, Huck found his opening. The champion downed his rival with an assault of punches in quick succession, and Arslan's strategy of absorbing the pressure ultimately proved too risky.
Amazingly, the stalwart got off the canvas, but with two minutes still left in Round 6, Huck was invited to bombard once more and dropped his opponent a second time.
Sky Sports' Shaun Brown commented on the sheer brutality of the first putdown in particular:
Arslan is worthy of commendation for coming back into the fray for a second time, but it was too much as Huck forced the referee to step in after raining more blows on his opponent in the corner.
With 14 years between the two fighters, one would have banked on Huck to make shorter work of Arslan on paper, but the challenger's fortitude prolonged the fight and remains a thing of wonder.
In the end, though, the WBO cruiserweight champion defended his title for a 12th successive time, and it was deserved after a matchup where Huck weathered anything the man opposite had to throw at him, finally giving back in more than equal portion.
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