STUTTGART, Germany (AP) - German cruiserweight Marco Huck stopped compatriot Firat Arslan in the sixth round of their rematch to successfully retain his WBO belt on Saturday for the 12th time.
Huck upped the tempo after an evenly fought opening five rounds, twice knocking the 43-year-old Arslan to the canvas. American referee Mark Nelson stopped the bout 1 minute, 56 seconds into the round when he saw the southpaw had no answer in the corner.
''Congratulations to Marco. I'm sorry for the fans,'' said Arslan, who had the crowd's support from the start. ''I prepared very well. It goes on. He was well set up.''
Huck had been landing the better punches and was clearly motivated by the criticism he received following his unanimous decision win over Arslan in November 2012, when many felt the former WBA champion had done more than enough to beat a man 15 years younger.
''I took the first fight much too lightly,'' said Huck, who improved to 37-2-1 (26 KOs). ''I was really concentrated now. I think I've silenced all my critics. Now I want to enjoy my win.''
Huck also thanked the fans, ''even if everyone was against me in the beginning. My coach said that nobody can beat me when I'm top fit, regardless of whether it's cruiserweight or heavyweight.''
Arslan dropped to 33-7-2 (21 KOs).