By David Finger
With Wladimir Klitschko’s recent victory over undefeated WBA regular champion Russian Alexander Povetkin, all eyes in boxing are now turning to the fighter who many insiders consider to be one of the few viable opponents for the reigning world champion. However, despite being raked #1 in the WBO and possessing an undefeated record of his own, Russian prospect Denis Boytsov (33-0, 26 KOs) still needs to get through one more opponent, WBO #8 rated Alex Leapai (29-4-3, 24 KOs), before he can proclaim himself the “mandatory” challenger. It is, in many ways, the most important fight in Boytsov’s career. Not only because he is so close to the coveted title fight, but also because his opponent has the proverbial “puncher’s chance.”
You just have to take a look at his record and know that it’s going to be a dangerous affair for Denis,” said Boytsov trainer Karsten Roewer, “Leapai might not be the best boxer skillwise. Still, he is explosive and packs a punch. We have to be wary of those facts until the last bell to beat him.”
Boytsov agreed with the sentiment of his trainer, focusing on the Australian and not on the possibility of a Klitschko fight afterwards.
“At the moment I don’t think about the fact that a win over Leapai will lead to a world title shot,” Boytsov said, “It is all about my next fight. I need to be victorious in Bamberg. Afterwards, I can take it from there.”
Leapai, the WBO Asia-Pacific heavyweight champion, is coming into the fight on a four fight win streak. Earlier this year, Leapai retained his WBO Asia Pacific heavyweight belt with a 9th round TKO over Felipe Romero (16-7-1, 11 KOs) on August 9th. Leapai knocked Romero down in the opening round and again in the ninth round, forcing referee Bruce McTavish to mercifully stop the contest.
However, his hard punching opponent has concerns of his own: that Boytsov will recognize the threat he poses and find a way to avoid the hard punching Australian bomber.
“We are hoping that Boytsov actually commits and goes through with this bout,” Leapai said, “as we have noticed a pattern forming in his career. Every time he is faced with an opponent who poses a threat he somehow comes up injured.”
The fight, scheduled for November 23rd in Germany, was originally scheduled for October 26th before Boytsov backed out due to a knee injury. The postponement raised eyebrows in Australia with fans of Leapai, where some questioned if it were the Russians sub-par conditioning that motivated him to postpone the bout.
“Here in Australia we refer to this type of fighter as a koala bear” Liapai added, “because they are a protected species.”
“We wish you a speedy recovery,” Leapai said in reference to Boytsov’s injury, “so that I may add to your list of injuries come November 23rd.”
The fight will take place at the Brose Arena in Bamberg. Tickets can be purchased at www.eventim.de and www.boxen.com.