WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck bounced back from a horrible performance against Firat Arslan in their first fight to stop the challenger last night at Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, Germany.
Former WBA titlist Arslan had battered an exhausted Huck in November, 2012 but shockingly lost a unanimous decision when the scorecards were read.
The 43 year old put in an identical effort last evening, walking the 29 year old champion into the ropes behind a high guard and then hammering away with both hands.
But this time, Team Huck had prepared their man on how to deal with this approach, rather than lay back and absorb a beating as he had 13 months ago.
No longer did Huck simply throw straight punches into the blocking gloves of Arslan, rather taking a page from the challenger's playbook and launching hooks and uppercuts around the guard of Arslan, which also opened up a path for straight shots.
Instead of sinking body shots into Arslan's sides, where they had no effect in 2012, Huck dug hurtful efforts into the pit of the stomach, to noticeable affect.
Huck also didn't allow Arslan to stand right in front of him and fire away, either punching and moving away from the challenger or blatantly shoving him off.
Huck's strategy paid off as Arslan, who finished the first fight relatively unmarked, bore a swelling face by the fourth round.
By the fifth, Arslan was slowing considerably but the sixth frame would prove to be the final stanza of the bout as Huck rammed home a flush straight right to the temple that dropped the challenger hard early in the round.
Arslan somehow got up immediately but was badly shaken. Huck went right to work with his followup assault but couldn't better his work and was soon out of gas.
The challenger was still clearly hurt but began punching Huck, although not much was in the shots. Once Huck recovered some energy he went after Arslan again and produced another knockdown.
Again, Arslan was up immediately but very wobbly. This time Huck's bombardment trapped Arslan in a corner and the bout was called off at 1:56 of the sixth round.
Huck improves to 37-2-1 (26), makes his 12th defense of the WBO belt, one shy of Johnny Nelson's record of 13 from 1999-2005.
Arslan falls to 33-8-2 (21).