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WBC orders Marco Huck vs. Mairis Briedis

By Eric Baldwin: The World Boxing Council has ordered #1 WBC Mairis Briedis (22-0, 18 KOs) and former WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck (40-3-1, 27 KOs) to face each other in WBC eliminator. The Huck vs. Briedis fight is supposed to be for the WBC interim cruiserweight title. That will put them in a great position to ge the WBC title in 2017.

The current WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew is fighting heavyweight David Haye next on March 4 in the heavyweight division. The WBC is fine with that fight taking place. However, if Bellew doesn’t return to the division, then the winner of the Huck vs. Briedis fight will become the new WBC cruiserweight champion.

It’s quite possible that Bellew, 33, won’t return to the division if he does well against Haye. Even if Bellew loses the fight, he could stick around at heavyweight potentially. All Bellew would need to do for him to get a title shot against IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is to put a handful of wins together against lower level heavyweights. Bellew and Joshua are both promoted by Matchroom Sport, so it won’t take much for Bellew to get a title shot.

“WBC Orders Marco Huck vs. Mairis Briedis next,” said Lance Pugmire. “If Bellew leaves division, winner is champion. It’s fine with WBC Boxing that Tony Bellew is fighting David Haye at heavyweight. WBC says Tony Bellew confirmed as cruiserweight champion because Grigory Drozd sidelined so long.”

Huck, 32, lost his WBO cruiserweight title last year to Krzysztof Glowacki in getting halted in the 11th round in August 2015. Huck tried to slug with the southpaw slugger Glowacki and he paid for it dearly by getting dropped twice in the 11th and knocked out. In hindsight, it was a bad decision for Huck to try and punch with Glowacki, because he’s not a good of a puncher as him as it turns out. Since that fight, Huck has won his last two fights in beating Ola Afolabi and Dmytro Kucher.

The win over Kucher came last November. Huck didn’t look that great in winning a 12 round unanimous decision. Kucher didn’t have much speed or power, but he did have a high work rate, and he forced Huck to defend himself constantly with his slow shots to the head. Huck will need to fight a lot better against Briedis if he doesn’t want to get beaten again.

Briedis, 31, has been ranked No.1 by the WBC or sometime. It looks like the WBC is going to
Huck held the WBO title from 2009 to 2015. That’s a long time. However, the division was weak during that period of time, and Huck dodged two losses in his fights against Denis Lebedev in 2010 and his second fight against Ola Afolabi in 2012.

Huck appeared to lose both of those fights in the eyes of many boxing fans. Both fights took place in Germany where Huck has been virtually unbeatable during his 12 year pro career. The only time Huck has lost in Germany was in a fight against heavyweight Alexander Povetkin in 2012 in losing a 12 round majority decision.

Briedis has been waiting for a title shot against WBC champion Tony Bellew. But with him moving up to heavyweight to face Haye next, Briedis now has to face Huck to earn the shot. Bellew fought fringe contender BJ Flores in his first defense of his WBC title after winning the belt last May against Ilunga Makabu. Bellew and his promoter Eddie Hearn chose to face Flores for his first defense rather than #1 WBC Briedis.

Briedis’ best wins have come against Olanewaju Durodola and Manuel Charr. Briedis recently stopped Simon Valliy in the 3rd round last October. Briedis’ win over heavyweight Charr came in August 2015 in stopping him in the 5th round. That was surprising news to a lot of boxing fans because many of them felt that Charr would be far too big for Briedis. The 245lb Charr had a 32 pound weight advantage over Briedis in that fight. It was thought that it would be too much weight for Briedis to deal with, but he stopped Charr with ease.

Earlier this year, Briedis blasted out Durodola in the 9th round in May. Briedis was able to nullify Durodola’s power to stop him in the 9th with some big power shots. In Briedis’s last fight, he easily handled Simon Valliy in outsmarting him to score a knockout. Valliy was swinging wildly from the 1st round of that fight, and this made it easy for Briedis to pick him off with his power shots to get the knockout.

Huck did not look that good in his last fight against Kucher. Huck wasn’t fighting with the same kind of fast pace aggression that we’d seen from him in the past. Huck is known for his frequently point-scoring flurries that he likes to throw to impress the judges.

Huck didn’t do much of that against the bigger 6’3” Kucher. Huck still won the fight, but he didn’t have the same explosiveness that we’d seen from him in the past. Whether this is a sign of age starting to rear its ugly head with Huck or something else is not quite clear. Huck is going to need to be able to fight hard for three minutes of every round for him to beat a hard puncher like Briedis. He’ll get taken apart if he tries to box Briedis for 12 rounds.

Huck, 6’2”, and the 6’1” Briedis are virtually the same size as one another. There’s no real difference in size between them. Briedis would appear to have much less mileage on him, as he hasn’t been involved in a lot of hard grueling fights like Huck has. Most of Briedis’ fights have been mismatches with him dominating his opposition.

One area where Huck will have a huge advantage over Briedis is in the experience department. He’s faced much better opposition than Briedis throughout his career. Huck has also been a pro a lot longer in fighting for 12 rounds compared to just 7 years for Briedis. Huck has three times fought Afolabi. and he’s also fought these fighters:

Alexander Povetkin

Hugo Hernan Garay

Matt Godfrey

Brian Minto

Firat Arslan x 2

Ran Nakash

Rogelio Omar Rossi

Denis Lebedev

Dmytro Kucher

Mirko Langhetti

Adam Richards

Vitaliy Rusal

Jean Marc Monrose

Victor Emilio Ramirez

Steve Cunningham

The experience advantage that Huck has in this fight over Briedis is incredible. However, that does not mean he’s going to win. Briedis has less mileage on him, and he’s a big puncher. If Briedis can land his power shots in this fight, then he could get the knockout. Briedis might need a knockout, because the fight will likely take place in Germany where Huck is extremely hard to beat. He’ll have the German boxing fans on his side in that fight, and the judges may end up being unconsciously influenced by the cheering for Huck.

It’s going to be interesting to see how long it’s going to take for the winner of the Huck vs. Briedis fight to get a title shot against Bellew if he moves back down to the division after he fights Haye on March 4. Hopefully the WBC pushes to make Bellew fight the winner of the Huck vs. Brieidis fight so that they can get a title shot while they’re still relatively young.

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