THIS week, the spotlight has been entirely on lineal heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and his title defence against Alex Leapai, which takes place in Oberhausen this weekend.
For many, it’s an opportunity to see one of the most dominate and humble heavyweight champions of the modern era in the flesh. Klitschko, 38, is confident, well-spoken and rarely speaks of his opponent in a negative light – this was no different for Alex Leapai at their latest press conference.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge, we can see that Alex is highly motivated and he is here to win.” said Klitschko. “I will not underestimate him on Saturday evening.”
“Welcome to big time boxing, Alex!”
An otherwise routine press conference was halted, when desperate former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs, the last American to hold a heavyweight championship burst into the press conference – in a scene that resembled a cheap imitation of David Haye.
Briggs, 42, is on the comeback trail after a four year lay-off and has set his sights on Wladimir Klitschko, in what appears to be a desperate attempt to garner attention.
Tensions began to rise when the American accused Klitschko of deliberately avoiding him and in a classless act, went on to call Alex Leapai a “bum”. An offended Leapai threated to fight Briggs and had to be restrained by his trainer Noel Thornberry, before being restrained by his opponent in a scene that was bizarre – even by boxing’s standards.
After being calmed down by his team, a motivated Leapai spoke with measured words about the task ahead of him.
“Everyone says it’s one punch we’re looking for,” Leapai said.
“But I’ve worked hard to fight twelve rounds. If I land the big punch that’s great but I’m looking to break him down over twelve rounds.” he continued. “I had a pretty bad past but I’ve been given a chance and I’m putting everything on the line to take it off Klitschko. I’m here to win.”
“Come Sunday, I’m going to put on the best show and I know Wladimir’s going to be fighting hard to keep his titles so we will put on a great show.”