Vladimir Klitschko has issued a startling warning to the rest of the division - that he is hungrier than ever in his bid to break Joe Louis' record as the longest reigning world heavyweight champion.

Klitschko has been the dominant force in the Heavyweight division since 2006 and he is set to defend his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in Oberhausen, Germany, on Saturday against Australian challenger Alex Leapai.

When the Ukrainian won the IBF title against Chris Byrd back in '06 there were four separate heavyweight champions.

Since those days, he has unified the IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA belts and defeated the former WBA champion David Haye. And, following his win over Ruslan Chagaev in 2009, he was also awarded the vacant Ring Magazine title.

Klitschko has utterly dominated the division for the past eight years and now has his sights set on breaking American boxing legend Joe Louis' record of 12 years as the undefeated Heavyweight champion. Louis was unbeaten between 1937 and 1949.

But, in order for Klitschko to beat that impressive record, the 38-year-old will have to remain unbeaten for another four years, when he will have celebrated his 42nd birthday.

This is not something that phases him, though, as he is in the best shape of his life and feels like a much stronger, well-rounded fighter now.

"I just turned 38, but that's only a number," Klitschko said on Sky Sports.

"I am still extremely hungry and better than ever. A few years ago, I thought I couldn't improve, but my mission is still a long way from over. I want to box on for ten more years.

"I feel the combination of experience, athletic-ability, technique and strategy makes me the complete professional."

Next up for the former Olympic gold medallist is the Leapai fight on Saturday, he admits that it has been challenging to prepare for his 65th professional fight with his brother Vitali in the thick of their country's volatile political situation in Kiev.

"It's a bizarre situation," Klitschko added. "My body has been training at the camp in Austria, but my mind is often with my brother and our compatriots in Ukraine."

Leapai will be hoping that his opponents mind is elsewhere come Saturday night, when the two go head-to-head. Klitschko hasn't been beaten in ten years and has won an astonishing 51 fights by knock-out.

If the Australian can shock the world and win the world Heavyweight title off of the big man, it will be as big an upset as when James "Buster" Douglas defeated Mike Tyson back in 1990, when he knocked out the then undefeated world champion in Tokyo.

Leapai certainly has the potential to land a knock-out blow, which is seen by many as the only hope he has against Klitschko.

Some have suggested that the fighter, born in Samoa, is not worthy to share a ring with the Heavyweight champion. But, with 30 wins from 37 bouts, including 24 by way of knock-out, it is arguable that he has earned his chance.

The winner of their match-up is set to defend the title against either Tyson Fury or Dereck Chisora, who are set for a rematch on July 26. The pair have been guaranteed a shot at Klitschko's WBO title, probably before the end of the year.


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Topics:
Wladamir Klitschko
Heavyweight
Boxing