Alex Leapai

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Alex Leapai
Statistics
Real name Elise Leapai
Nickname(s) The Lionheart
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Reach 190 cm (75 in)
Nationality Australian
Born (1979-10-16) 16 October 1979 (age 38)
Lauli'i, Upolu, Western Samoa
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 42
Wins 31
Wins by KO 25
Losses 7
Draws 4

Elise "Alex" Leapai (born 16 October 1979) is a Samoan Australian former professional boxer. His career highlight was a fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, for the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, The Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles.

Personal life[edit]

Leapai's parents, Faataui and Leitu, moved their family from Laulii, Samoa when he was 7 to New Zealand, where they lived until he was 12. In New Zealand, Leapai attended Owairaka Primary School in Mt Albert and played rugby league for Marist Saints, as did his one-time sparring partner Sonny Bill Williams. Upon moving to Australia, Leapai's family settled in Logan, Queensland. In Logan, Leapai played junior rugby league for Logan Brothers alongside future Australian rugby league and rugby union international Lote Tuqiri. While playing for Brothers, Leapai was offered a scholarship with the National Rugby League side, the North Queensland Cowboys.[1][2]

Leapai has four brothers, Leati, Stefano and Faatni (known as Leroy), who spent four years with the London Broncos in the English Super League.[1] His cousin is Australia and Queensland representative Josh Papalii.

Leapai is married to his high school sweetheart, Theresa, and has six children. Four daughters (Cyanne, Maria, Menime and Ivona) and two sons (Alex and EJ).[2]

In 2005, Leapai spent six months in Queensland's Woodford Correctional Centre on a grievous bodily harm charge after attacking two bouncers.[2]

An avid rugby league fan, Leapai supports the Brisbane Broncos.[3]

Leapai's inspiration is fellow Samoan heavyweight boxer David Tua[4]

Title eliminator[edit]

Alex Leapai defeated Denis Boytsov on 23 November 2013 in Germany. Boytsov was the WBO's mandatory challenger for Klitschko, but when Leapai defeated Boytsov, Leapai was named mandatory challenger even though the Boytsov-Leapai bout was not an official elimination bout.[5]

Dan Rafael for ESPN.com reported on 3 February 2014 that "Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will make his 16th title defense when he faces Alex Leapai, one of his mandatory challengers, on April 26 in at the König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, as K2 Promotions announced Monday. The Klitschko and Leapai camps had agreed to a deal several weeks ago, which allowed them to avoid a purse bid, but it has now been signed. Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KOs), 34, a native of Samoa living in Australia, came out of nowhere to be appointed as the mandatory challenger by the WBO after scoring a major upset."[6]

World title attempt[edit]

Lead-up In the lead-up to Leapai’s Heavyweight World Championship contention on April 27, 2014 Leapai was dubbed the ultimate underdog.[7] Just eight years earlier, as Wladimir Klitschko (Leapai’s opponent) first claimed the title, the Samoan-born Australian was serving six months in prison after bashing four bouncers outside a nightclub in Brisbane.[8] The same temper that led to Leapai’s arrest had also ruined a promising rugby league career that started roughly 15 years prior.[9] As a young man, Leapai had a scholarship with the North Queensland Cowboys that ended when he punched other players on the field while competing in the under 19s.[9] Leapai then pushed the referee when he was sent off and was subsequently given a five-year ban from the sport before he took to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to “escape” his rage.[9] Comparisons between the “machine-like”, “Dr Steelhammer” Ukrainian superstar and the stocky truck driver with a colourful background led media outlets to compare “The Lionheart” Leapai with Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa character. However, styles were not the only similarity between Balboa and Leapai. Like Balboa, Leapai was always the ‘underdog’ in the lead-up to his title fight. The Ukrainian had the advantage of experience, reach, age and weight, not to mention the fact that Leapai was the first Australian to fight for the heavyweight world title in 106 years.[10]

Politics Despite the fact that Klitschko possessed an overwhelming advantage over his challenger, the Ukrainian was quoted as saying the bout was “the most important fight of my career” due to the political backdrop of the encounter from a Ukrainian point of view.[10] Early in 2014 Russia took the Crimea from the Ukraine and consequently, both nations were mobilising for the possibility of war in the short term.[11] Vladmir’s brother Vitali Klitschko was preparing to run for the Ukrainian presidency in looming May elections and the 37-year-old title holder admitted boxing was second in his mind to the political upheaval in his homeland.[12] As the fight Klitschko claimed the spectacle would be ever important to “boost the morale” of his countrymen.[13]

Former heavyweight world champion Shannon Briggs interrupted a pre-fight press conference in Germany just days before the anticipated bout only adding to the drama that characterised the title fight.[14] Briggs challenged Klitschko for a fight and accused Leapai of being an unworthy opponent for the Ukrainian before the Queenslander and challenger were both restrained by security.[14]

Result Leapai was knocked out by Klitschko in the fifth round of a fight scheduled for 12 rounds.[15] The Queenslander was knocked down barely more than a minute into the title fight in Oberhausen Germany as Klitschko continued his 10-year winning streak.[15] Klitschko retained his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO championship belts and used his height and reach advantage to control the fight with Leapai.[16] Leapai reportedly rattled his opponent once in the fight before Klitschko responded with a flurry of blows that eventually dropped the Australian to the canvas.[16]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
42 fights 31 wins 7 losses
By knockout 25 3
By decision 6 4
Draws 4
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
42 Draw 31-7-4 Australia Roger Izonritei TD 3 (8),
2:26
2017-12-13 Australia Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
41 Win 31-7-3 New Zealand Thomas Peato TKO 3 (8),
2:26
2017-10-14 Australia Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
40 Loss 30-7-3 Syria Manuel Charr UD 10 2015-05-22 Russia Olympic Indoor Arena, Moscow, Central Federal District
39 Loss 30-6-3 United States Malik Scott UD 10 2014-10-31 Australia Logan Metro Sports Centre, Crestmead, Queensland
38 Loss 30-5-3 Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko TKO 5 (12),
2:05
2014-04-26 Germany König Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen For WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO & The Ring Heavyweight titles.
37 Win 30-4-3 Russia Denis Boytsov UD 10 2013-11-23 Germany Stechert Arena, Bamberg, Bayern, Germany Retained WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title.
36 Win 29-4-3 Mexico Felipe Romero TKO 9 (12),
1:15
2013-08-09 China Hengyang, China Retained WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title.
35 Win 28-4-3 Australia Joe Lloyd KO 1 (8),
1:18
2013-05-09 Australia Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
34 Win 27-4-3 United States Matt Hicks TKO 1 (8),
2:42
2013-02-08 Australia Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall, Queensland, Australia
33 Win 26-4-3 Uzbekistan Akmal Aslanov TKO 5 (12),
1:27
2012-12-21 China Zhuzhou Stadium, Zhuzhou, China Won vacant WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title and vacant WBO Oriental Heavyweight title.
32 Loss 25-4-3 United States Kevin Johnson TKO 9 (12),
2:22
2012-04-01 Australia Doomben Racecourse, Ascot, Queensland, Australia Lost IBF Australasian Heavyweight title.
31 Win 25-3-3 United States Troy Weida TKO 1 (10),
1:56
2011-12-08 Australia The Arena, Fortitude Valley, Queensland, Australia
30 Win 24-3-3 Russia Evgeny Orlov KO 4 (8),
1:37
2011-10-21 Australia Broncos Leagues Club, Red Hill, Queensland, Australia
29 Win 23-3-3 Uganda Okello Peter KO 3 (12),
?
2011-04-17 Indonesia Jakarta International Expo, Jakarta, Indonesia Won vacant IBF Australasian Heavyweight title.
28 Win 22-3-3 United States Jason Barnett KO 1 (8),
2:47
2011-01-29 Australia Gold Coast Convention Centre, Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia
27 Win 21-3-3 United States Darnell Wilson UD 8 2010-12-04 Australia Gold Coast Convention Centre, Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia
26 Win 20-3-3 Jamaica Owen Beck TKO 6 (10),
2:50
2010-08-12 Australia Southport RSL Club, Southport, Queensland, Australia
25 Win 19-3-3 United States Travis Walker TKO 4 (10),
2:52
2010-06-30 Australia Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall, Queensland, Australia
24 Win 18-3-3 Australia Bob Mirovic KO 1 (10),
2:57
2010-04-29 Australia Gold Coast Convention Centre, Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia
23 Win 17-3-3 New Zealand Hiriwa Te Rangi TKO 1 (6),
1:11
2009-09-04 Australia Coolangatta & Tweed Heads Golf Club, Tweed Heads South, New South Wales, Australia
22 Draw 16-3-3 Japan Kotatsu Takehara MD 6 2009-07-31 Australia Hilton Hotel, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
21 Win 16-3-2 Australia Colin Wilson KO 8 (12),
2:11
2009-06-19 Australia Southport RSL Club, Southport, Queensland, Australia Won interim WBO Heavyweight title.
20 Win 15-3-2 Fiji Oscar Talemaira KO 1 (4),
0:56
2009-05-27 Australia Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall, Queensland, Australia
19 Win 14-3-2 Fiji Oscar Talemaira KO 2 (6),
2:49
2009-02-20 Australia Southport RSL Club, Southport, Queensland, Australia
18 Win 13-3-2 South Africa Pieter Cronje UD 10 2008-11-14 Australia Gold Coast Convention Centre, Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia Won vacant WBF Australasian Heavyweight title.
17 Win 12-3-2 Tonga Alipate Liava KO 5 (6) 2008-09-27 New Zealand Town Hall, Christchurch, New Zealand
16 Win 11-3-2 Ghana Moyoyo Mensah UD 8 2008-09-05 Australia Mansfield Tavern, Mansfield, Queensland, Australia
15 Win 10-3-2 Algeria Mohamed Azzaoui KO 2 (8),
1:11
2008-08-01 Australia Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
14 Loss 9-3-2 Australia Colin Wilson SD 12 2008-06-27 Australia Mansfield Tavern, Mansfield, Queensland, Australia Lost OPBF Heavyweight title.
13 Win 9-2-2 Australia Michael Kirby UD 12 2008-03-14 Australia Kedron Wavell Services Club, Chermside, Queensland, Australia Retained OPBF Heavyweight title.
12 Win 8-2-2 New Zealand Nathan Briggs KO 8 (12),
2:09
2007-11-30 Australia Kedron Wavell Services Club, Chermside, Queensland, Australia Won vacant OPBF Heavyweight title.
11 Win 7-2-2 Tonga Ofa Pi Bouvalu Uluakiahoeia RTD 2 (4),
3:00
2007-09-07 Australia Broncos Leagues Club, Red Hill, Queensland, Australia
10 Win 6-2-2 New Zealand Jason Reti TKO 2 (6),
2:13
2007-06-29 Australia Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
9 Win 5-2-2 Fiji Oscar Talemaira KO 5 (6),
1:46
2007-02-23 Australia Southport RSL Club, Southport, Queensland, Australia
8 Win 4-2-2 Australia John Szigeti TKO 1 (6),
1:46
2006-11-17 Australia Magic Millions Complex, Bundall, Queensland, Australia
7 Win 3-2-2 New Zealand Hiriwa Te Rangi TKO 4 (4),
2:46
2006-11-10 Australia Logan Diggers Club, Logan Central, Queensland, Australia
6 Loss 2-2-2 Australia Baden Oui TKO 4 (4),
0:51
2005-08-19 Australia Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
5 Win 2-1-2 New Zealand Vai Toevai UD 4 2005-08-05 Australia Mansfield Tavern, Mansfield, Queensland, Australia
4 Draw 1-1-2 Bosnia and Herzegovina Nermin Sabanovic PTS 6 2005-05-20 Australia Broncos Leagues Club, Red Hill, Queensland, Australia
3 Loss 1-1-1 Uzbekistan Yan Kulkov UD 8 2004-12-03 Australia Mansfield Tavern, Mansfield, Queensland, Australia
2 Win 1-0-1 Australia Danny Morgan TKO 8 (8),
2:42
2004-09-17 Australia Mansfield Tavern, Mansfield, Queensland, Australia
1 Draw 0-0-1 Australia Mark de Mori MD 6 2004-07-30 Australia Broncos Leagues Club, Red Hill, Queensland, Australia Professional debut.

Minor titles won[edit]

  • WBO Asia Pacific heavyweight title
  • WBO Oriental heavyweight title
  • IBF Australasian heavyweight title
  • OPBF heavyweight title

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Burgin, Robert (24 April 2014). "Brothers in Arms". Rugby League Week, p. 36.
  2. ^ a b c "The story of world heavyweight championship contender Alex Leapai - Boxing News". 8 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  4. ^ Kiwi connection to take on Wladimir Klitschko, Fairfax NZ News, dated 4 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Leapai installed as Klitschko Mandatory". Espn.go.com. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Dan Rafael (2014). ESPN.com, 3 February 2014.
  7. ^ "AM - Alex Leapai fights to become Australia's first world heavyweight champion 26/04/2014". Abc.net.au. 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  8. ^ "Why the Real Rocky Alex Leapai Can Become Australia's First World Heavyweight Champion". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  9. ^ a b c Sport (2014-03-14). "Alex Leapai determined to take lows to a new high in Klitschko fight". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  10. ^ a b [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ Stafford, Ian. "WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO: How can I think about boxing when the men and women of Ukraine are being murdered in Kiev?". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  13. ^ "Wladimir Klitschko in Turmoil and Says Alex Leapai Fight Most Important of his Career". Couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  14. ^ a b "Alex Leapai held back as Shannon Briggs gatecrashes world heavyweight boxing title media conference - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2014-04-23. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 
  15. ^ a b "Wladimir Klitschko beats Alex Leapai to keep titles". BBC Sport. BBC. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-11-28. 

External links[edit]