Ukrainian heavyweight boxing world champion Vladimir Klitschko faces Axel Leapai of Australia (R) after a news conference in Duesseldorf April 22, 2014. Photo by Ina Fassbender, Reuters.
Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine will be defending his WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles in Duesseldorf, Germany against Alex Leapai on Saturday (April 26) in a fight that he and Leapai promise to be exciting and making history.
Klitschko knows it will not be easy to box against Leapai who the Australian press describes as a "ham-fisted Samoan slugger".
"He came here not to lose but to win," said the champion, who is arguably the world's best technician in the ring, at a news conference in Duesseldorf on Tuesday (April 22). "And that means that we will see a fight with lots of action on Saturday evening. It will not be a boring fight, where you fall asleep, as some of the Klitschko fights tend to be, but this one will be very exciting."
And the challenger joined in the hype.
"I know, come Saturday, I will put on the best show," said Leapai. "And I bet he's gonna fight hard to defend his titles. But I'm here to win. And so is Wladimir. To everybody up there who is watching - watch this fight because we are gonna make history."
The fight comes at a time when Wladimir's older brother, Vitali, is heavily involved in the most potentially dangerous global-political situation since the end of the Cold War.
Wladimir said that his way of showing support must not be underestimated:
"And the thing is that sport really has something magical," he said. "And I'm totally sure - in the words of Nelson Mandela - that sport has the power to change the world."
Asked about the rumours that Russia will not broadcast the fight live, he said: "Russia won't show it live which is really sad. But people in the Ukraine will be united and will feel united at this fight."
But the most exciting stunt of the news conference did not come from the boxer on the stage but from one off stage.
Former boxer Shannon Briggs of the United States, who suffered facial fractures and a torn left bicep after a WBC title challenge against Wladimir's brother Vitali in October 2010, marched in and threw his shoe and T-shirt at Klitschko and Leapai, shouting that only he is the real champion.
Klitschko took the interruption with good humour before Briggs eventually left the room.