Why Aussie boxing's next big thing destroyed a watermelon

Why Aussie boxing’s next big thing destroyed a watermelon

While many Australians spent their Thursday afternoons tackling some pre-Easter shopping, Alex Leapai Jr was punching a hole through a watermelon.

It was an ominous omen for his first professional boxing opponent – Joe Ageli on Wednesday night – and it was also a timely homage to his famous father.

Ten years ago Alex Leapai Sr fought Wladimir Klitschko for the world heavyweight title and while the Australian was outclassed by the Ukraine legend, gracing that stage was an incredible achievement.

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Before leaving for Germany in 2014, Leapai Sr also punched through a poor melon at the Brisbane markets as a publicity stunt.

His 18-year-old, 120kg son – who walked away from a bright future in the NRL to go all in on boxing this year – believes he can go one better and become a world champion.

“I was so young, only eight when that happened, so I didn’t really know what was going on,” Leapai Jr told Wide World of Sports.

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“But as I got older and got into boxing I understood what a big accomplishment that was. I’m real proud with everything dad accomplished and I guess it’s just my time now.”

Leapai Sr will be in Adelaide to watch his son debut at The Gathering, which also features AFL luminaries and Jackson England’s world title fight.

His father’s trademark punch was the overhead right but Leapai Jr says his money maker will be his straight right.

He lists another heavyweight world title challenger, New Zealand’s David Tua, among his boxing idols and wants to continue to fly the flag for Pasifika fighters.

“I never take a backward step and if a brother thinks he’s hitting me hard then he should know that when I hit back, I want to hit him harder,” Leapai Jr said.

“So they should expect nothing but fireworks, to be honest.”

THE GATHERING AFL CARD

​ ​Kane Cornes v Nathan Brown

​Dane Swan v Dale Thomas

​Mitch Robinson v Kayne Pettifer

​Anthony Rocca v Corey McKernan

THE GATHERING ​ PROFESSIONAL CARD

​Jackson England (15-4) v Jamel Herring (24-4) – WBO Global Super Featherweight Title

​Jack Brubaker (17-5-2) v In Duk Seo (15-3-2) – Super Welterweight

​Joel Camilleri (27-8-1) v Joel Pavlides (5-2-1) – Middleweight

​Alex Leapai Jr (0-0) v Joe Ageli (2-1) – Heavyweight

​Sergei Vorobev (22-2) v Wes Capper (22-5-1) – Middleweight

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