Declares “bigger, badder” comeback
IT was a fight doomed to favour his opponent yet Samoan-born Alex Leapai entered the world stage ring with an outside chance. He had a few die-hard optimists in his corner though – those who thought he could pull off a miracle and silence the undisputed world champion and in the process claim four world crowns – held by Ukraine’s Wladimar Klitschko, 37. Leapai was carrying hopes for all of Oceania – Australia, New Zealand and the island nations.
Everyone loves a surprise, a win by an underdog – so had Leapai’s heavy-handed punches struck at the right time, he would have won fame, millions more in prize-money and followers of all sorts. But it was not meant to be for the man who started his career in outback Queensland. Leapai – boasting an impeccable boxing record of 30-4-3 at the age of 34 was stopped in the fifth round after a brutal hiding at the hands of Klitschko, dubbed Steel Hammer for his powerful punching fight career that spans a decade at the top of his sport.
The Ukranian put up his four heavyweight crowns at stake during the fight – the WBA, IBF, WBO and IPO against Leapai, often referred to as LionHeart. The big Samoan succumbed to Klitschko’s killer barrage of punches and counter-punches at the world heavyweight showdown held in Oberhausen, Germany late April.
While the pain of losing such a hyped-up career fight will be unbearable, Leapai knows that even in defeat there is victory for him. He earned a cool US$1.5 million for his five rounds. Had he lasted six more agonising rounds against the rock-solid multi-title defender, the outcome could have been promising and different. Leapai’s performance left much to be desired – especially when he put up a great effort but came short of overcoming the improbable.
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