Kevin Johnson stops Alex Leapai in 9th

By Boxing News - 04/01/2012 - Comments

By Jim Dower: Former heavyweight title challenger Kevin Johnson (26-1, 12 KO’s) showed why he previously fought for a world title by taking care of the hard hitting but limited Alex Leapai (25-4-3, 20 KO’s) on Sunday night at the Doomben Racecourse, Ascot, Queensland, Australia. Johnson, 32, knocked Leapai down in the 9th and the fight was halted at 2:22 by referee Adrian Cairns.

Leapai fought well early, using his power to back Johnson up and work him over with big shots on the ropes in the same way that WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko was able to keep Johnson backed against the ropes.

Johnson took the fight into the center of the after the first three rounds and began to really work Leapai over with jabs using his eight inch reach advantage. Leapai didn’t have an answer for Johnson’s superb jabbing and couldn’t get past his long reach. Leapai would make charges like a little bull trying to throw wild shots but Johnson was able to side step him or back away to make Leapai’s wild punches easily miss. Johnson’s reach was so much longer than that of Leapai that it was like watching one of the Klitshko brothers dominate a short opponent.

Johnson had Leapai hurt many times in the fight and it’s a credit to Leapai that he stayed in there to soak up all that punishment because the fight could have arguably been stopped much earlier when it was apparent that Leapai was out of his class and just taking shots needlessly.

This was an important win for Johnson because it may put him back into the top 15, which he’s dropped out from for some reason. Johnson needs to be a lot busier against much better opposition if he wants another world title shot. He’s fought only four times since his loss to Vitali in December 2009, beating strictly 2nd tier opposition. Johnson has the talent to give any of the top heavyweight contenders a run for their money and I could see him beating a lot of them, perhaps even guys like Robert Helenius, Tyson Fury, Alexander Dimitrenko, Kubrat Pulev and David Price. Johnson has got a much better jab than those fighters and he can dominate with that weapon alone.

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