IBF Cruiserweight Champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez will defend his belt this Saturday August 16th in Thuringen, Germany against challenger Firat Arslan. Heading into fight week, Hernandez is a solid (-530) favorite over Arslan, who returns at (+350) according to 5Dimes Sportsbook. Hernandez has run his professional record to a solid 28-1, and this will be his fourth title defense. Hernandez is from Cuba, though he lives in Germany now, and he has loads of amateur experience on his resume from his time on the Cuban national teams. He has scored 14 knockouts in his 28 wins, so he isn’t a massive puncher, but he makes good use of his 6’4 frame and his reach. Hernandez will have a nearly five inch height advantage over Arslan. Arslan is a slugger who likes to come forward and keep a high activity rate. More than likely, he will be chasing Hernandez all night while getting hit from the outside. He is going to look sluggish compared to the athletic Hernandez, and he is going to need to get inside and do body work to slow him down. Hernandez is probably not as well known as his contemporaries from Cuba such as Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux, and this is mainly due to the fact that he competes as a Cruiserweight, which is a weight class which has almost always been bereft of real competition. Skill-wise, he is as confident as those two smaller men in his technique and preparation. Those qualities make Hernandez a natural to eventually move up to the Heavyweight division. He competed as a Heavyweight at times in his amateur career, he is just 29 years old and his height and frame could easily make him a solid 230 lb heavyweight. The belt he holds was once held by Evander Holyfield and James Toney, among others, all of whom have transitioned to the Heavyweight division. With a win this weekend, Hernandez will be one step closer following in their footsteps.
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