Judges give Huck narrow victory

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Judges give Huck narrow victory

BERLIN - World champion Marco Huck defended his WBO cruiserweight title for the fifth time here with a hard-fought split decision win over mandatory challenger Denis Lebedev on Saturday night.

The judges scored the fight 115-113, 112-116 and 115-113 in Huck’s favor, but the German can consider himself lucky to hold onto his belt after the Russian made him work through all of the 12 rounds.

The 26-year-old Huck, who won his title against Victor Emilio Ramirez in August 2009, was tested by the previously unbeaten 31-year-old Russian and almost paid for his high-risk strategy at Berlin’s Max-Schmeling-Halle.

Huck repeatedly attempted to catch the challenger with some big shots, which left him exposed, and although the Russian did not always take advantage of his chances, he looked to have controlled the fight.

Lebedev slipped briefly to the canvas at the end of the fifth, but having caught Huck flush in the face during the previous round, the Russian southpaw was holding his own and caught Huck with a good combination late in the sixth.Huck looked to be falling behind on the count by the end of the seventh as the Russian landed some telling punches.

A cut opened up on the Russian’s right cheek at the end of the 11th, but Huck held on for a slender win.

This was Huck’s 31st win, with 23 knockouts and one defeat, while this was Lebedev first defeat in his 22 professional fights with 16 knockouts.

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