By Jake Donovan
Terms have been reached for lineal heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko to defend his crown—and slew of alphabet titles—versus Australia's Alex Leapai this coming April in Germany.
The two camps were granted a 30-day negotiation period to work out a deal to avoid a purse bid hearing, which was scheduled for January 19 in San Juan.
"Wladimir Klitschko and Alex Leapai reached an agreement to fight in April. The WBO was informed of this news this morning, confirmed Francisco 'Paco' Valcarcel, WBO President.
Klitschko (61-3, 51KO) is universally regarded as the best heavyweight in the world and the true lineal champion. His current alphabet title reign is approaching eight years later this April, beginning with his knockout win over Chris Byrd in their 2006 rematch to lift the IBF belt.
Overall, Klitschko has made 15 successful title defenses, picking up the WBA, WBO and IBO belts along the way. His WBO reign is now approaching six years, beginning with his Feb. '08 virtual shutout of Sultan Ibragimov at Madison Square Garden in New York City, his last stateside appearances.
His most recent win came last October, dominating top contender Alexander Povetkin over 12 rounds in Russia.
Leapai (30-4-3, 24KO) emerged as an unlikely contender following a huge upset win over previously unbeaten Denis Boytsov on the road in Germany.
A true date and venue have yet to be revealed, but confirmation of the fight taking place in Germany gives Klitschko, who will turn 38 prior to fight night, his 12th straight appearance outside of the United States. The bulk of his title reign—and career—have taken place in Germany.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox