Wladimir Klitschko will return to action and defend his titles against WBO mandatory challenger Alex Leapai at the König-Pilsener-Arena Oberhausen, Germany on April 26.
Last November the 34-year-old Leapai rose to prominence when he beat the previously undefeated Denis Boytsov. Leapai won a unanimous decision, dominating Boytsov over 12 rounds and knocking him down twice in the process. As a result of this victory the WBO appointed Leapai the mandatory challenger for Wladimir Klitschko.
Beyond the fact that Leapai is a mandatory challenger and Klitschko is seeking to retain his belt, this is an otherwise miserable match-up. Leapai is a largely unknown fighter, and while beating Boytsov was certainly noteworthy, it’s impossible to overlook that less than two years ago, he was stopped against Kevin Johnson.
“The Lionheart” Leapai was born in Samoa and now lives and trains in Logan City, Australia. He turned professional in 2004 and with his latest victory against Boytsov, Leapai improved his record to 30-4-3, 24 KOs.
In Klitschko’s last fight in October 2013, he scored a unanimous decision against undefeated WBA “regular” (fake) champion Alexander Povetkin at the sold-out Moscow Olympic Hall. The clash with Leapai will be Klitschko’s 25th Heavyweight World Championship fight.
“It impressed me how Alex Leapai dominated Boytsov: He has shown strong punching power and a lot of heart. But moreover, that he can take a punch and feels confident in the role of the underdog. I will be very focused and prepare myself 100 per cent as always and will look forward to this next challenge.”
“People talk about how great Wladimir is and the 61 victories he has had in his career. I on the other hand think of the fact that he has been comprehensively ko’ed 3 times by people who cannot punch nearly as hard as me. I will break Wladimir and it will not be my hardest fight.”
Bernd Bönte, Managing Director of Klitschko Management Group (KMG):
“We have good memories in this arena, both Wladimir and Vitali have already fought there twice and were always victorious. Each time there was a great atmosphere in this outstanding arena.”
Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of K2 Promotions:
“Wladimir has proven to be the most dominant heavyweight champion in recent memory and we are looking forward to another great performance and victory on April 26.”
In Germany, Klitschko vs. Leapai will be broadcasted live and exclusively on RTL Television. Ticket sales start on February 11 on www.eventim.de.