By Alexey Sukachev
Koenig Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany - IBO/WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (62-3, 52KOs) battered overmatched WBO mandatory challenger Alex Leapai (30-5-3, 24KOs) for a fifth round knockout victory. At the start, Klitschko scored with the right hand often and came off with a flash knockdown in the first. Leapai was a sitting duck, getting hit with a high volume of jabs and hard rights. In the fifth, Klitschko continued to do damage and scored two huge knockdowns and referee Eddie Cotton waved things off as Leapai's senses were gone.
WBO #1 Leapai was awarded this title shot thanks to his upset win over completely faded long-time contender Denis Boytsov, who was found to be a spent bullet at the age of 27, seven years younger than the Australia-based Samoan. Leapai's true level, however, was shown explicitly by wandering American gatekeeper Kevin Johnson, who stopped him in nine rounds two years ago. Leapai was 5-0, 4 KOs, after that but against very limited opposition - except of Boytsov.
Leapai's true level was well on display right from the opening bell. Being much shorter than the Ukrainian, Leapai ducked even lower, trying to emulate both David Tua and Mike Tyson but looked hardly any better than the version of Tyson, who fought Lennox Lewis, and David Tua, who has been outboxed by Alexander Ustinov just recently.
Leapai almost immediately was down without a punch. Klitschko effectively kept him at bay with his jab, and wisely clinched on every occasion Leapai was able to get any closer. The Samoan was soon down again - barely after a punch but more due to his unbalanced stance. However, referee Eddie Cotton questionably called it a knockdown.
The beatdown continued into the second round, which saw Leapai drastically decreasing his offensive efforts. Meanwhile, Klitschko was playing a perfect game, effectively destroying Alex with his jabs and subsequent right hands. Leapai was eating a colossal assortment of jabs and power punches for the next three rounds. In round three, he threw just three power punches in return, and in the fourth he failed to do even that. Both rounds could have been easily scored as 10-8 rounds.
Finally, in the midst of the fifth, Leapai opened up and fired a Hail Mary left bomb, which missed, as he was immediately rocked by the champion. Two combos after, he was already getting up from the canvas. Another combo, and Leapai was dragged to the ropes - this time for the full count. Official time of stoppage was 2:05.
Klitschko, 38, retained his IBF and IBO belt for the 16th time, his WBO regalia - for the 12th tiime, and his Super WBA status - for the 6th time. He is yet to be matched up with an opponent, capable enough to give him any fits.
Tags: Wladimir Klitschko , Alex Leapai , Klitschko-Leapai , Klitschko vs. Leapai