Klitschko-Leapai now official for April 26th
By Allan Fox: It’s now official: IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KO’s) will be facing his WBO mandatory challenger Alex Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KO’s) on April 26th at the Koenig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. Leapai earned his spot at the title by beating the previously unbeaten and untested Denis Boytsov, who the WBO had ranked as their No.1 contender despite Boytsov never having faced a credible opponent during his 10-year pro career.
Leapai, 34, didn’t have to face a dangerous heavyweight contender like Chris Arreola or Bermane Stiverne to get his shot at Wladimir, and that’s fortunate for him. There’s a big difference between beating Boytsov, who didn’t deserve to be ranked #1 by the WBO, and beating contenders in the class of Arreola and Stiverne.
What this means for Wladimir is that he’s being given another free pass in terms of getting an easy opponent for him to pad his record with in facing Leapai. Wladimir has taken heat for beating the likes of Jean Marc Mormeck, Mariusz Wach and Francesco Pianeta in the last couple of years. Leapai would likely lose to all three of those heavyweights.
Wladimir has this to say about Leapai: “He has shown strong punching power…He can take a punch.”
Leapai can punch, but he’s very slow and you have to stand in front of him for him with your guard down for him to land his slow shots. Kevin Johnson easily beat Leapai by a 9th round TKO in April of 2012. That wasn’t that long ago, so it’s not like Leapai has had a lot of time to improve. In his win over Boytsov, Leapai looked like the same fighter who was easily beaten by Kevin Johnson. The main difference was that he was facing a lesser heavyweight than Johnson.
Wladimir defeated WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin by a 12 round unanimous decision last year in October in Moscow, Russia. This was supposed to have been a competitive fight, but Wladimir used a strategy of holding and leaning constantly on Povetkin to keep him from throwing punches. The referee let Wladimir clinch 10 times per round, and that made things easy for him because he was able to grab Povetkin each time he would attempt to get in range to throw a shot.
You can expect Wladimir to do a lot of holding on April 26th each time Leapai gets close enough to throw a punch. Unless the referee stops Wladimir from doing this, we’re likely to see a repeat of his victory over Povetkin. Wladimir does have a very chance of knocking Leapai out if he lets his hands go.