by James Slater – WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck’s next challenger will be decided on July 17th, when Russian southpaws Denis Lebedev and Alexander Alexeev clash in Germany on the same card as the middleweight title bout between interim WBC champ Sebastian Zbik and challenger Khoren Gevor. With all due respect to the middleweight clash, the cruiserweight bout is the better, more intriguing match-up.
30-year-old Lebedev, unbeaten at 20-0(15), and 29-year-old Alexeev, 19-1(7), are evenly matched and a good case could be made for either man emerging with the win that will put him in line for a shot at Marco Huck’s WBO 200-pound belt.. Alexeev, who has been stopped, by Victor Ramirez, when he succumbed to a 9th-round retirement loss in a fight that contested the interim WBO belt, is the taller man by quite a margin at 6’2″ to 5’11” and he has arguably met the better opposition.
Lebedev, who is currently on a seven-fight KO streak, does own a good-looking 3rd-round stoppage of former WBO cruiser champ Enzo Maccarinelli, and he could be the slightly harder banger of the two men. However, it is the slightly older Russian who is already looking ahead to his getting it on with Huck; a fighter he has had in his sights for some time. But Alexeev is definitely making a mistake if he is in any way overlooking Lebedev.
Alexeev, who has won three in a row since the January, 2009 setback against Ramirez, has even gone as far as saying Lebedev is the “final hurdle” ahead of his fight with Huck. It sure sounds like the 6’2″ warrior sees a second “world” title fight as his destiny.
Both men will be in excellent shape and both will come to fight hard, that much is certain. And a KO, from either side, is a real possibility. The cruiserweight division is pretty exciting at the moment, and this elimination bout is just another reason why. Whoever wins in July (and, for what it’s worth, I pick Lebedev), the victor will make a very good challenger for the busy “Kap’n Huck;” who will be making the fourth defence of his belt when he next boxes. Huck, by the way, won the WBO crown by out-pointing the only man to have beaten Alexeev.
There should be fireworks in Germany on July 17th, and then, later in the year, there could be more when the winner of this upcoming collision goes in with the always-exciting Huck.