By Mike Torney: Australian Alex Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KO’s) will get a once in a lifetime world title shot against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 51 KO’s) after the World Boxing Organization president Paco Valcárcel made Leapai the WBO mandatory challenger for Wladimir. Leapai is ranked at #8 by the WBO, but with his recent victory over #1 WBO Denos Boytsov, the WBO decided to take a vote on whether to give Leapi the mandatory status and the vote came up positive for Leapai.
Valcárcel said on his twitter “#WBO Championship Committee has voted to designate Alex Leapai Wladimir Klitschko’s mandatory challenger. Parties have 30 days to negotiate.”
Leapai was able to defeat Denis Boytsov last month by a 10 round unanimous decision to earn the spot against Wladimir. It was a good win, to be sure, but it’s pretty sad that the WBO made Boytsov the #1 contender in the first place because he never beat anyone of note for him to be ranked that high. It would have been better had the WBO set up an official heavyweight eliminator like the other sanctioning bodies like the WBC does in order to pick out an opponent for Wladimir to fight.
The way that the WBO set it up, they made it too easy for Wladimir by picking out the undeserving Boytsov as the #1 contender. It’s difficult to respect the WBO when you see Leapai being given the mandatory status ahead of the other WBO contenders Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, Bermane Stiverne, Chris Arreola, Kubrat Pulev, Mike Perez, Dereck Chisora, Bryant Jennings, Andy Ruiz Jr., Alexander Ustinov and Vyacheslav Glazkov.
Wladimir has taken a lot of criticism for his habit of picking out weak opposition for his title defenses, but in this case the WBO has helped Wladimir out by selecting an especially weak one of him to trounce. This is not going to be a good fight for boxing fans hoping to see Wladimir fight a good opponent because Leapi isn’t in the same class as him and doesn’t have the experience to win this fight.