Klitschko: I'm not going to take Alex Leapai easy
Dr Steelhammer Wladimir Klitschko (61-3-0) is preparing to face the next challenger who will attempt to relieve him of his WBO, IBF, IBO and WBA world heavyweight titles in one fell swoop. If all goes according to plan for Alex "Lionheart" Leapai (30-4-3), he'll become the first Australian in over one hundred years to be crowned a unified world heavyweight champion.
Klitschko has other ideas though and whilst some see Leapai as an easy night's work for the dominant Ukranian who hasn't lost in the ring for exactly 10 years to the day, Klitschko is cutting no corners, training as hard as ever for his heavy-handed adversary.
"I've been beating people up for a living since I was fourteen, professionally and I'm not going to under-estimate or take Alex Leapai easy," explained Klitschko.
Leapai earned the lucrative opportunity by beating highly rated Russian Denis Boytsov on points in Bamberg last November. That win - a final eliminator with the WBO - caught many experts by surprise but for once there was no controversy. Leapai deserved the win and now has a chance to make an even bigger name for himself in Oberhausen, Germany on the 26th April.
Few people will give the Lionheart much more than a punchers chance, but it's fair to say that he does carry power in both hands. He's been advised by former world title challenger and fellow countryman Joe Bugner that he should smash Klitschko from the opening bell. It could be quite an entertaining couple of rounds if Leapai does throw caution to the wind, but you can be sure that the vastly more experienced Klitschko will have an answer for anything the challenger might try to surprise him with.
On Tuesday the media were invited to attend an afternoon training session at Klitschko camp in the Austrian Alps and were witness to 8-rounds of sparring action. Sam Sexton, Joshua Tufte and Tony Harrison were all called upon to keep the champion sharp and ready to fight his 65th professional contest in just over two weeks time.