Huck confident of keeping title

Marco Huck, right, is confident he will retain the title against Ola Afolabi. Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Getty Images

One of the sleeper fight of the year candidates in 2012 was the rematch between cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck and interim titlist Ola Afolabi, which ended in a draw.

Not too many people in America saw the fight, because it took place in Erfurt, Germany, and was not televised here. But it’s worth a look on YouTube. It was a tremendous battle. Both fighters were in trouble at different times, and they closed with a ferocious 12th round.

Huck scored a decision win against Afolabi in their first meeting in 2009, so he’s up 1-0-1 in the series, retaining his title both times. But the third fight was mandated after the draw, and they are meeting again on June 8 at Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, Huck’s home city.

Huck will be making his 11th defense when he faces England’s Afolabi, against whom he also made his first and ninth defenses.

Huck is confident that he will once again will retain the title against his biggest rival.

“All good things come in threes,” Huck said. “So far Afolabi hasn’t been able to find a way to beat me, and it won’t be any different this time around.”

Huck has not fought in Berlin since a 2010 defense against Denis Lebedev, so he is happy to be fighting at home again.

“I’m so excited to be back in Berlin, and I want to give the boxing fans in Germany’s capital a real spectacle,” said Huck, who will be fighting for the first time under the promotional contract extension signed with Sauerland Event. “That is why I will be giving it a 100 percent during my preparation. The spectators inside the Max-Schmeling-Halle have a real barn burner to look forward to.”

It’s hard to imagine it being a better fight than the second one was last May, but you never know.

Besides Huck (35-2-1, 25 KOs) and Afolabi (19-2-4, 9 KOs) going at it, the fight also pits two of Germany’s most famous trainers against each other: Ulli Wegner (Huck) and Fritz Sdunek (Afolabi).

“We have laid down the foundations. Now we are waiting to see if Marco is able to stick to the tactics we worked on when he is under the pressure of sparring,” Wegner said. “Afolabi will present a difficult challenge, partially due to Fritz Sdunek standing in his corner.”