Unorthodox Aussie boxer hungry for world title
AS NOEL Thornberry and boxer Alex Leapai board a flight to Germany this evening, they do so with the belief it is their time.
Few give Leapai a chance of returning from the April 26 bout against defending champion Wladimir Klitschko with the world heavyweight title.
But trainer Thornberry is confident the next time he sets sights on the Lockyer Valley, where he lives at Lower Tenthill with his wife and five children, it will be as the trainer of the reigning world champion.
"He's on fire," Thornberry said of Leapai this week.
It has been a campaign affected by injury and endless media commitments that come from being the first Aussie to contest a world heavyweight title but Thornberry says they have overcome the challenges and Leapai is ready to knock out a man who hasn't been beaten in 10 years.
"If it has affected him, you can't see it," Thornberry said.
"He's one of those blokes who likes being with his family."
As does Thornberry. Which is why they will be glad when the fight is over.
"Absolutely," Thornberry said. "We want to get over there, have a win and come home to our kids."
Leapai has six children and, his trainer jokes, between them they have a soccer team in the making.
Both sets of children have learned that when their dads are preparing for a big fight, they won't see much of them.
"They understand it has to be done," Thornberry said.
"Both boxer and trainer crave a return to normality but, if Leapai wins, he may never experience normal again.
What's on the line?
World WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.
Where is the fight?
Oberhausen, Germany (50km from Dutch border).
Why Leapai can win?
He is young, hungry, powerful and unorthodox. Klitschko is past his prime and has never met an opponent like Leapai.