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Alex Leapai The Latest Challenger To Wladimir Klitschko’s Throne

While his elder brother and retired former WBC title holder Vitali Klitschko campaigns for political change in their native Ukraine, younger Klitschko brother Wladimir, who holds the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF Heavyweight belts, has announced that he will return to the ring on the 26th April in Oberhausen, Germany’s against the World Boxing Organisation number 1 contender for the title, Samoan born Australian Alex Leapai.

The 34 year old Leapai will be the younger Klitchsko’s 65th professional contest since turning professional back in 1996 after winning Gold Medal at Super-Heavyweight at the Atlanta Olympic Games.

It will also be Wladimir's 25th World title fight in what will be a Hall of Fame bound career and 16th World title defence in his current reign as the best Heavyweight prize-fighter active in the world today.

Wladimir's dominance started back in April, 2006 when he defeated American Chris Byrd for the second time in his career to clinch the IBF and IBO portions of his throne with a 7th round stoppage.

Since then, only four men: Alexander Povetkin, Mariusz Wach, David Haye and Sultan Ibrahimov, have heard the final bell against one of the most powerful and dominant heavyweight champions of all time.

The Samoan born Leapai earned his crack to topple Klitschko from his throne after defeating highly touted Russian prospect Denis Boytsov in a WBO eliminator back in November, 2013.

Leapai’s record of 37 fights contains 30 wins, 24 by knockout, four losses and three draws since turning professional back in 2004 in his adoptive home country of Australia.

While he is the younger man in comparison to Klitschko by three years, Leapai is considerably shorter, standing at exactly six foot tall in comparison to Klitschko, who is 6 feet, 6 inches.

The challenger possesses a reach of only 75 inches, in comparison to 81 inches of Klitschkos. It will also be only the second time Leapai has fought in Europe, having spent the overwhelming majority of his career fighting in Australia and most recently in China.

Apart from Boystov, the only real stand out names on Leapai’s resume are America's Kevin Johnson, who stopped Leapai in nine rounds for an IBF Contentinal belt back in April 2012, and former world title challenger Owen Beck, who Leapai halted in six in 2010.

It is clear that Klitschko will be the overwhelming betting favourite, being the physically bigger, stronger fighter of the two as well considerably more experienced.

Klitschko will, as usual, look to dominate behind that long heavy left jab of his, and look to tie Leapai up on the inside and lean on him to tire out the smaller man.

Leapai will look to work the body of Klitschko to allow the opportunity of throwing a looping left hook against Klitschko’s jaw.

Wladimir has gone to the canvas 11 times in his career and has been stopped three times, however, in this writer’s eyes, Klitschko will be the man scoring the knockout in the later rounds against a game but ultimately outgunned Leapai.

About Iain Langmaid

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