Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany — Wladimir Klitschko notched his 16th consecutive title defense with a one-sided drubbing of Alex Leapai yesterday at the Koenig Pilsener Arena.
Any thoughts about Leapai being able to repeat his upset win over Denis Boytsov were quickly erased in the opening minutes when Klitschko scored a quick knockdown off a cuffing right hand. From there, the bout turned into target practice for the tenured champion — Leapai plodded aimlessly on the outside, allowing Klitschko rain down jabs, straight rights and an assortment of hooks.
With no real threat of retaliation, Klitschko mixed up his offense with lead hooks and body shots that hurt Leapai in the fourth. Three right hands put Leapai down with 1:20 remaining in the fifth. The champion unleashed a few more rights coupled with left hooks for the third and final knockdown, prompting referee Eddie Cotton to call the bout with 55 seconds remaining.
There was no Shannon Briggs appearance in the arena, and that would have been the only drama surrounding this contest. Leapai has heart, but his ability was so limited that this WBO mandatory defense was a complete mismatch.
Thankfully, there is some hope on the horizon. Next month, Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola face off for the vacant WBC strap. The winner of that would make an attractive unification bout for Wladimir. The top 5 in the WBA, IBF and WBO ranking also have an assortment of names (Deontay Wilder, Bryant Jennings, Dereck Chisora, Kubrat Pulev, Tyson Fury) that Klitschko has yet to face. And while none of these guys would be the favorite to win, they all have attributes to trouble a 38-year-old champ who’s been in cruise control with hapless foes for several years now.