Huck salutes Cunningham but vows to return


Huck salutes Cunningham but vows to return

Press Release: Marco "Captain" Huck has vowed to train "even harder than before" after suffering the first loss of his career on Saturday night. The 23 year-old power puncher failed to win the IBF cruiserweight title from Steve Cunningham, who clinched a twelfth-round TKO victory. The American champion landed a series of hard punches in the final two minutes of the fight which promoted coach Ulli Wegner to throw the towel with 64 seconds to go. "I was too tense," the disappointed challenger said afterwards. "I had difficulties getting off punches. Cunningham was the better fighter tonight and deserved to win."

Backed by the support of 4000 fans in his home city of Bielefeld, Germany, Huck (19-1, 14 KOs) got off to a good start and unleashed a strong combination in the first round. However, Cunningham (21-1, 11 KOs) did well to escape his wild punches in the following. The 31-year-old titlist showed great body movement and superior boxing skills as he kept landing shots himself. "Marco made his life a little too easy," Wilfried Sauerland said. "He didn´t stick to the game plan but tried to knock him out with one punch." Yet the manager has no doubts his youngster will bounce back. "We´ll all help him to get back to the top and I am sure he will be fighting for the title again in the next one or two years."

Cunningham cleverly stayed out of trouble most of the time and proved his class throughout the 12 rounds. "He hit me a couple of times but as a world champion you have to be able to take a few punches," he said afterwards. "I knew I was stronger mentally and physically and I have trained really hard. Huck has no reason to be embarrassed of himself - he fought a great fight. But there is no stopping me."

Cunningham landed a big right uppercut in the fifth and also looked unaffected after some wild exchanges in the 11th round. Huck, clearly exhausted but still determined, then ran out of gas in the final round when the champion pelted him with some hard shots. With 1:04 to go, Wegner threw the towel. "If a 23-year-old fighter with such a great potential is in that much trouble I simply have to react," he explained. "Marco has improved big time over the past couple of months but he didn´t show it today. He didn´t throw any jabs at all. But don´t worry - he´ll be back for sure."

Huck, who was given standing ovations by his home fans, promised to bounce back stronger than ever. "Of course the first loss of my career is a major disappointment but I will work even harder in practice to become world champion soon. I am just 23 years old and this was my first chance. I´ll be back."