Wladimir Klitschko returns to face Leapai

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Updated: March 23, 2014
Unified IBF/WBA/WBO and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko

Unified IBF/WBA/WBO/IBO and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KOs) is currently preparing for a mandatory defense against Alex Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KOs) on Saturday, April 26, in Germany. The bout will be Klitschko’s 17th consecutive world heavyweight title fight since April 2006.

I promise you I will knock this bloke out,’’ Leapai said. “Everyone who fights Klitschko is scared of him. They hang back, hang back and are frightened to throw punches.”

Leapai says the same thing everyone else does, but that is easier said than done. Leapai, regardless as to what he does in training, will suffer the same fate as the rest of Klitschko’s challengers.

Klitschko by KO!

“I am impressed [with] Alex,” Klitschko said. “He is very confident and has no self-doubt. This will be a very strong challenge which I am looking forward to.”

Klitschko, at age 38, doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Klitschko continues to get better over the course of time, as he has proven himself as one of the most dominant heavyweights in history. No heavyweight has dominated their era the way Klitschko has.

Klitschko captured the world’s attention at 1996 Atlanta Olympics when he won the gold medal as a super-heavyweight. In the last 18 years, Klitschko has displayed brutal power, technical, mastery, speed, agility, highlight-reel knockouts. Klitschko has more than 60 professional victories, complemented by more than 50 professional knockouts. Klitschko’s relentless dedication to boxing is unequal and unmatched by any other heavyweight in the world. Klitschko has made winning boxing matches look easy. It appears as though one-punch Klitschko lands and his opponents either 1) change their game plan quickly, or 2) fall on the canvas.

Wladimir Klitschko is a very special fighter. Ever since the late Emmanuel Steward restructured Klitschko’s style and corrected his flaws following consecutive knockout losses to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster, Klitschko has proven himself to be a student of boxing and an amazing fighter.

Klitschko’s career was on the line the night he fought Samuel Peter at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ in September 2005. Klitschko, who was labeled as having no chin and no heart, was knocked down three separate times. Each time Klitschko was floored by the awesome power of Samuel Peter, Klitschko responded by returning to his feet. Klitschko dominated Peter behind a powerful left-jab, right hand combination. With the fight handing in the balance entering the twelfth and final round, Klitschko brought everyone to their feet when he badly wobbled Peter with an amazing right hook. Since then, Klitschko took control of the fight and further took control of the destiny of his career.

Klitschko won the IBF heavyweight championship by knocking out Chris Byrd in April 2006. Klitschko unified the WBA/WBO/IBO and Ring Magazine by defeating the best heavyweights available: Sultan Ibragimov, David Haye, Jean-Marc Mormeck, Lamon Brewster 2, Ray Austin, Calvin Brock, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Mariusz Wach, Alexander Povetkin, Tony Thompson (twice), Samuel Peter 2, Francisco Pianeta, Hasim Rahman…

This year is going to be a very interesting and busy year for the heavyweight division. The heavyweight championship title picture will intensify following Klitschko’s mandatory defense against Lepal.

Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola will fight in a rematch to determine the new WBC heavyweight champion. The WBC title belonged to Wladimir’s older brother Vitali before he retired to run for President of Ukraine. The winner of Stiverne-Arreola 2 will be obligated to fight undefeated 2008 bronze medalist Deontay Wilder, who posts a perfect 100% victory-by-knockout percentage.

In July, undefeated heavyweight contender Tyson Fury and Derrick Chisora will meet in an all-British showdown to determine the WBO No. 1-rated heavyweight contender. The winner will be guaranteed a shot at Klitschko’s title.

The next 12-16 months in the heavyweight division will be very interesting to watch, as longtime contenders are quickly evolving into mandated title challengers. Klitschko will be very busy in camp and keeping himself sharp to compete against a lengthy list of challengers that are hungry and determined to lift the heavyweight titles away.

That has proven to be much easier said than done.

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