Alex Leapai says his focus remains firmly on Wladimir Klitschko after being maligned by former world champion Shannan Briggs.
Alex Leapai is adamant his focus on the clash with heavyweight boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko hasn’t been diluted by the temptation to show some fistic fireworks a few days early.
Leapai was involved in a classic boxing sideshow when former WBO world champion Shannan Briggs gatecrashed a press conference in Dusseldorf on Tuesday.
The 42-year-old American who was put in hospital by Klitschko’s brother Vitali three-and-a-half years ago, stormed into the room and delivered an eight-minute tirade.
He called Klitschko a pretender and a fabricated champion and angered Leapai with demeaning comments about the Australian.
“You’re a bum, Leapai,” Briggs yelled.
“Let’s get it on right now. Matter of fact I don’t want you, you’re too small.
“I want him (Klitschko).
“I want nothing with you Leapai, you’re just here for target practice for him.”
Leapai moved forward on the stage and looked to be heading towards Briggs before being held back by Klitschko.
“I switched into Lionheart mode, I really wanted to fight him (Briggs),” Leapai told AAP.
“But Wladimir just told me ‘look, our focus is our fight, just leave it at that’, so I just left it at that.”
The vastly experienced Klitschko said he had never seen anything like it.
“I was a little worried of Alex because we have a fight coming up and he cannot start the fight before the fight,” Klitschko said.
“It’s important that he’s going to save his self and energy for Saturday night.”
Both Klitschko and Leapai dismissed any suggestion the incident would prove emotionally draining or distracting for the challenger.
“My main focus now is on Klitschko,” was Leapai’s succinct response.
Klitschko was excited by the Australian’s aggression.
“I think Alex is going to stay focused because that was just a moment and he was preparing for the fight for many weeks and months,” Klitschko said.
“I hardly doubt it’s going to throw Alex out of his balance or concentration.
“I like that Alex is very motivated and he’s very bold and he’s very confident. He’s very aggressive in certain ways.
“The energy that I could feel from him is great for the challenge that I’m going to face on Saturday night.”
Klitschko said Leapai definitely deserved his title shot on the weekend after becoming the WBO No.1 and dubbed him the Australian Rocky Balboa.
“The end of the fight, shouldn’t be like Rocky,” Klitschko joked.
“I’ve been doing homework for the past eight weeks so I’m ready for the exam.
“I’m looking forward to this fight, but I know that I have a great challenge on Saturday night.”
Unbeaten in ten years and 19 fights, Klitschko declared “failure is not an option”.
“I’ve been doing it for a long time, but trust me I’m not bored at all.”