Marco Huck to headline Berlin card

Updated: March 5, 2014, 12:24 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Promoter Sauerland Event has traded one cruiserweight titleholder, Yoan Pablo Hernandez, for another, Marco Huck, to headline its May 29 card at the Velodrom in Berlin.

Initially, Hernandez was slated to make his fourth title defense in a fight with Pawel Kolodziej (33-0, 18 KOs), 33, of Poland. However, Hernandez, who came down with a viral infection in February that forced the fight to be postponed from March 8 to March 29, still cannot fight on the new date. He is suffering from gastritis, a stomach lining infection, one of the lingering affects from his illness, and is unable to train.

When Hernandez withdrew from the fight, Sauerland Event approached Huck, who shares trainer Ulli Wegner with Hernandez, to see if he would be interested in moving up the date of his next fight from May 3 to March 29 and he was happy to make the change.

So now the 29-year-old Huck (37-2-1, 26 KOs) will headline the card and face Mirko Larghetti (20-0, 12 KOs), 31, of Italy.

"I'm training, I'm in top shape and looking forward to the fight in Berlin. I fear no enemy. As champion, I always go against the best fighters. My fans can look forward to a great show in the ring," Huck said.

Huck, making a relatively quick return after knocking out former titlist Firat Arslan in their rematch on Jan. 25, will be making his 13th title defense and if he wins he will tie Johnny Nelson of England for most defenses in division history. Nelson won a cruiserweight title in 1999 by knocking out Carl Thompson in the fifth round and defended the belt 13 times. After retaining the title - the same one Huck now holds - by split decision against Vincenzo Cantatore in November 2005, Nelson retired.

Huck won his title in August 2009 by unanimous decision against Victor Emilio Ramirez of Argentina. Since then he has engaged in several action-packed fights, including a trilogy with Ola Afolabi and two fights with Arslan, to become one of Germany's most popular fighters. Huck found out about the opportunity to move his fight date from May to March while he was on vacation.

"I was on holidays in Dubai when I was asked about the possibility to fill in for my teammate Hernandez," Huck said. "It will be a real cracker against Larghetti, who will suffer his first defeat against me."

Hernandez (28-1, 14 KOs), 29, a Germany-based Cuban defector, who won his title in 2011, has had other health issues that have sidelined him, namely a broken hand that required surgery and kept him out of the ring for most of 2013.

Since turning pro in 2009, Larghetti has faced low-level opposition and has never boxed outside of Italy. He is, however, confident about facing Huck.

"I will shock Huck in front of his fans and rip the title away from him," he said.

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