Wladimir Klitschko had a remarkably easy time in Germany defending his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles against challenger Alex Leapai. Klitschko ran his impressive win streak to 20 straight fights, and made it 16 straight successful title defenses by knocking out his hopelessly outclassed opponent in the fifth round.
The champion took control of the fight in the opening round, scoring a flash knockdown, and preceded to pepper his much shorter opponent with jabs and crisp right hands the rest of the contest. Leapai rarely landed a punch against Klitschko. The final CompuBox statistics had the dominant champion with an incredible 147-10 advantage in punches landed.
The end came in the fifth round when Klitschko sent Leapai to the canvas twice. The second knockdown came from a brutal right hand, and referee Eddie Cotton mercifully halted the massacre. Klitschko improved to 62-3 with 52 knockouts in what was one of the easiest defenses of his career. The Samoan-born Australian challenger fell to 30-5-3, and was stopped for just the second time in his career.
There seem to be no serious threats at the moment to knock “Dr.Steelhammer” from his dominant perch. Klitschko hasn’t lost since being stopped by Lamon Brewster back in 2004, and he would avenge that loss by stopping Brewster in their 2007 title fight.
While the 6-foot-6 Klitschko will always have his detractors because of his safety-first style, it is a brutally effective one. He’s been a completely changed fighter since suffering three knockout losses earlier in his career. The champion uses his tremendous height and range to good use, and it’s rare that he actually gets tagged by a solid punch. Klitschko is also always in remarkable physical condition.
While he’s a dominant, physically-gifted fighter, it once again speaks to the rather sorry state of the heavyweight division. Since silencing the trash-talking David Haye by a lopsided decision in 2011 to add the WBA belt to his collection, Klitschko has made a string of forgettable defenses against badly overmatched competition.
Perhaps a Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder can become a future challenge down the road. At least those two fighters have the height and punching power to be more than just another sacrificial lamb for Klitschko. At the moment, the 38-year-old champion is simply lapping the field with no end in sight to his dominant reign.