BERLIN- Oleksandr Usyk displayed the overall excellence. Marco Huck provided the heart. Their entertaining, though generally one-sided battle got the World Boxing Super Series off to a solid start as Usyk notched a TKO at 2:18 of the 10th round and snuffed Huck’s comeback dream.
“I promised to finish it inside the distance and I did,” said Usyk, flashing the tight grin he displayed all week. “I want to thank Germany so much for the hospitality. Anyone who didn’t like this fight can throw a stone.”
“After he mocked me, I think he felt my punches,” claimed a bruised Huck. “If he means fouls or punches to the neck then yes, I felt something, but that has nothing to do with boxing,” responded the relatively unmarked Oleksandr Usyk.
Make no mistake, despite the designated poundage, this was a heavyweight rumble. Each man was probably well over the 200 pound limit by bout time, and many a heavy leather mortar landed inside Max Schmeling Hall before an announced crowd of 5,890.
Maybe Usyk should be dubbed “The Crocodile,” because like that character in the fairytale Peter Pan, his offense devoured “Cap’n” Huck. Usyk made the necessary adjustments to Huck’s brave but uneven offense and apparently Huck had no plan “B”.
When Huck gave Usyk a theatrical shove at the weigh-in it was hard to tell how much was marketing. The underdog definitely appeared ready and willing as he got in the WBO champion’s face and smiled sarcastically, inching Usyk backward. That turned out to be about the most effective aggression Huck achieved.
The smile Usyk returned was not theatrical. His task had gone from a job to a pleasure. Whatever hometown advantage Huck hoped to enjoy never materialized. Most of the noise came from the Ukrainian sections.
Southpaw Usyk began the fight on his toes and was effective with wide, circular feints that left Huck open for big combinations. As Huck consistently wound up his right and charged, Usyk smiled and scored with counters.
Usyk took control by round three and shook Huck with an uppercut. Huck returned the stinging favor with a short left counter in a close round four. Usyk increased his power shot output but Huck didn’t fold. Huck scored with a good right in the fifth and Usyk pretended to wobble, making faces throughout. While obviously a highly spiritual man, he’s also a thoughtful but wacky character.
Not much landed in the sixth session but it was still an intense scene. Huck had reddening scrapes on his forehead and left eye. He always roared back, but he always failed to gain any ground. As Usyk returned to his corner at the halfway point he let out a triumphant scream as if the fight was in the bag.
In the eighth, referee Robert Byrd deducted a point from Huck for hitting Usyk after he’d been wrestled to the canvas. Usyk was all over Huck in the ninth but Huck showed defensive skill and always fought back. The final frame was a microcosm of the fight. Usyk started on his toes, progressed to setup bodywork, then overwhelmed Huck with varied, multi-punch combinations until Byrd stepped in.
It wasn’t enough to win more than a round in the bruising battle, but Huck kept it interesting and may have forced Usyk to a higher level. Usyk began to look like one of the finest cruiserweights ever, something Huck achieved years back in another boxing lifetime.
“I felt like a beginner,” reflected Huck. “I could have won if my right hand landed.” Or maybe if an asteroid crashed into Usyk’s corner. “I have to decide about the future,” added Huck. “I’ll go on holiday and think about it.” He was not disgraced tonight, but you can’t say much more than that.
Official scoring was unavailable at press time, but most ringsiders polled gave Usyk every round. TSS had it 89- 81 at the time of the stoppage. Next up for Usyk, probably early next year, is the winner of Mairis Briedis–Mike Perez. “I have no preference,” said Usyk regarding possible opponents. “I entered this tournament because I was born on the same day as Muhammad Ali and I see that as a sign.”
As he continues to develop into a truly elite boxer-puncher future foes, including the heavyweights, may want to stay off the Ukranian’s radar. In the mean time, more and more boxing fans are finding Usyk on theirs. Oleksandr Usyk Wins / Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel. To comment on this article at The Fight Forum, CLICK HERE.