Wladimir Klitschko steps into the ring for the 65th time when he defends his IBO, WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight belts against Australian Alex Leapai in Oberhausen, Germany this weekend.

Klitschko first won a world title way back in 2006 when he defeated Chris Byrd for the IBF and IBO heavyweight straps, and Saturday night will be a 16th title defence for the man known as 'Dr. Steelhammer'.

Wladimir is the younger brother of former WBC Champion Vitali, and has always been regarded as a superior fighter of the two, something that will never be decided as they have openly stressed that they will never challenge each other, a promise made to their mother.

The Klitschko duo have dominated the heavyweight division for the best part of a decade, Wladimir's last loss came back in 2004 to Lamont Brewster, an unbeaten streak of 19, while brother Vitali hasn't been beaten since his loss to Lennox Lewis back in 2003, a stoppage that came while he was dominating the former champion.

As a result of their dominance unfair criticism has been thrown in their direction questioning the heavyweight division and their overall ability.

The criticism aimed at the heavyweight division is entirely true - there is and has been nothing really to get excited about since the retirement of Lennox Lewis and the explosive era of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. However, to use this as a question mark against the ability of the Ukrainian brothers is simply unfair.

All they can do is fight what is out there, which they have done and done so convincingly in most cases.

Wladimir Klitschko has always dominated, even during his amateur days, which shows a record of 134 wins and only 6 losses, including an Olympic Gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta games. The fact that he has achieved such status professionally over the years comes as no surprise to those that know him best.

At 38 he remains in supreme athletic condition for a heavyweight and his brilliant technical ability and power is what has allowed him to achieve a record of 64 fights, 61 wins with an astonishing 51 knock-outs.

Would he have stood firm alongside other great heavyweights of the past? Without question.

He is an imposing figure with a well structured game-plan and disciplined defence. He has shown in the past that he can take a punch however his greatest attribute is to be able to dictate the pace when in the ring. His powerful and accurate left jab simply wears down opponents and when it comes down to finishing them off, he has a punishing right hand that has done the job so successfully in the past that only 4 opponents have gone the distance with him.

On Saturday night in Germany, relatively unknown Alex Leapai will not only attempt to go the distance but to achieve what very few others have done before.

Leapai is a 34-year-old Samoan with a record of 30-4-3 in 37 fights and a one time sparring partner of former New Zealand heavyweight champion and All Blacks rugby star Sonny Bill Williams.

Knowing the raw toughness of the Samoans, which they have showcased all over the rugby pitches of the world, I expect that is all Leapai will bring into the ring and that Klitschko's superior experience and quality will bring proceedings to a close before the half-way stage.

There will be question marks against his choice of opponent considering the likes of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have proved themselves to be more than capable, however I expect that these two, who are still making a name for themselves, will get their shot eventually, especially considering Klitschko has said he wants to break the heavyweight record held by Joe Louis, which will take another four years.

Louis held the heavyweight world championship for 12 years from 1937-1949, which includes a heavyweight record of 25 title defences, and the Ukrainian is without question motivated towards this achievement and judging by what is out there in the heavyweight division he has every opportunity of fulfilling this ambition.

Klitschko could be without the regular ringside figure of his brother though, as Vitali is currently caught up in the unraveling political crisis in Ukraine.

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Topics:
Wladamir Klitschko
Heavyweight
Vitali Klitschko
Boxing