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Klitschko vs Leapai: Wladimir says he can still hear Emanuel Steward in the gym and in the ring

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Wladimir Klitschko says he still hears the voice of his late trainer Emanuel Steward, and does everything in training the way Emanuel did it.

Christof Koepsel

Wladimir Klitschko, holder of the WBA, WBO, IBF, and Ring Magazine world heavyweight title belts, is set to return on April 26 in Germany against Alex Leapai, a Samoan based in New Zealand who few figure to have any real shot at the upset, nothing new for one of Wladimir's fights.

Klitschko has managed to keep his career humming after the passing of his legendary trainer, Emanuel Steward, as he's worked with Steward disciple and fellow fighter Johnathon Banks since then. Wladimir (61-3, 51 KO) says that he still hears Steward's words when he's training or fighting:

"Perhaps it sounds a little crazy, but when I am in the gym I still hear his voice. He whispers things in my ear when I am in the ring. We had previously talked about things for hours, from which I still benefit today.

"We still do things today exactly how Emanuel wanted them to be done. It starts with the small things. I feel his spirit, his strength and I always definitely know whether or not he is happy with my training."

Klitschko says he expects Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KO) to try and beat him with "pure violence," that his technique is not up to par and not the challenger's strong suit. That's probably correct, given that there's just no way Leapai is going to beat Klitschko without knocking him out, because it's almost impossible to imagine him doing much otherwise to get past the long, hard jab of Klitschko, which has discouraged many an opponent over the years.