ESPN and ESPN Deportes will televise two Heavyweight fights within two weeks, Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 52 KOs) vs. Alex Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KOs) on Saturday, April 26 from the König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, and, as previously announced, Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) vs. Chris Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) on Saturday, May 10 from the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles, both live and exclusive in the U.S.
The 12-round fight between World Heavyweight Champion Klitschko and challenger Leapai will air at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN. Two weeks later, the Very Much Not a World Championship Fight In Any Way rematch between top-rated Stiverne and Arreola will air at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
“We are thrilled to have ESPN televise this great one-two combination of World Heavyweight title fights,” ESPN senior director of programming & acquisitions Brian Kweder said. “The winners of these two fights will be on a collision course for the potential unification of the Heavyweight title. With fighters like Deontay Wilder, Mike Pérez, Bryant Jennings and Tyson Fury all waiting in the wings, the Heavyweight division is poised for a major comeback.”
Klitschko, of the Ukraine, who will be making his 16th title defense and fighting in his 25th World Heavyweight Championship bout, scored a unanimous decision over Alexander Povetkin in his last fight. Klitschko has held a Heavyweight title longer than anyone in boxing history (IBF, 2006-present) other than Joe Louis (nearly 12 years). He has made the third-most title defenses in Heavyweight history, trailing only Louis (25) and Larry Holmes (20). His challenger, Leapai, a native of Samoa living in Australia, is coming off a November unanimous decision upset win over Denis Boytsov.
Stiverne and Arreola were chosen to fill the vacant WBC title after Wladimir Klitschko’s older brother Vitali vacated the title to pursue his political career in the Ukraine. Stiverne and Arreola will not only battle for the vacant WBC World Heavyweight title, but also to become the first boxers of Haitian or Mexican descent to hold a Heavyweight title.a.