The formidable and all-reigning world heavyweight champion steps into the ring once again tonight as Wladimir Klitschko prepares to put his selection of title belts on the line against WBO number one contender Alex Leapai.
Klitschko, who recently turned 38, faces a fighter who is relatively small for a heavyweight at six feet tall, and judging by his record over the last few years, should have no problem producing a devastating ending to his scheduled defence at the Koenig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen.
Some kudos has to go to Leapai from the off as the Australian has fought his way to the top with an impressive win over previously unbeaten Denis Boytsov, although I just don’t see how a fighter who was knocked out in nine rounds by Kevin Johnson can last the distance with Klitschko.
The 34 year-old has looked nervy in the build-up and at the weigh-in was towered over by the big-punching Ukrainian, making those pre-fight murmurings of a potential knockout upset by Leapai look somewhat hopeful and with little substance.
Granted that most heavyweights at the top level can bang, but Klitschko is so hard to hit for an opponent his own size – so how Leapai is going to be able to tag him clean with a six-inch height difference is beyond me.
Judging by fight week, I just can’t see Leapai making it to the second half of the contest and it really just depends what mood Klitschko is in as to how long this encounter actually lasts. The four-belt king has now surpassed a decade without loss and I just can’t fathom a route for Leapai to inflict a fourth loss on Klitschko in his first world title fight.
Expect Leapai to be cautious from the off, but once Klitschko finds his range the bout could be over quickly and present ‘Dr. Steelhammer’ with a 52nd career knockout before a potential unification against the winner of Bermane Stiverne v Chris Arreola later this year.
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