Australian boxer Alex Leapai will step back into the ring in October against American Malik Scott, just four months after losing his world title fight.
Alex Leapai’s life story has been all about second chances, now the Australian boxer is plotting his route to a second shot at the heavyweight world title.
The 34-year-old father of six from Logan near Brisbane captured the attention of the nation earlier this year when he took on Ukraine’s world champion Wladimir Klitschko in Germany.
Despite being stopped in five rounds by the dominant Klitschko, Leapai will return to the ring in October against American Malik Scott in Brisbane.
It’s the first step in what Leapai hopes will be a road back to a second and more successful shot at the world title.
“We all get knocked down but you’ve just got to get back up and keep going,” Leapai said at the announcement of the October 29 bout at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Thursday.
“I’m not going to give up until I’ve got that belt around my waist.”
Leapai said he never thought of retiring following the Klitschko fight, despite pocketing a guaranteed $1.5 million just for stepping into the ring against the giant Ukrainian.
Scott is currently training in Austria as one of Klitschko’s sparring partners and Leapai’s trainer Noel Thornberry says the 33-year-old is a true test.
At 194cm, Scott will go into the fight with a height and reach advantage over Leapai and he currently holds a record of 36 wins – including 13KOs – from 39 bouts.
Thornberry says if Leapai is serious about climbing back up to the top to have another crack at becoming Australia’s first heavyweight world champion, it will have to be proven in the ring.
“The winner is going to go on back into international contention and the loser is probably going to have to sit and evaluate where he goes next,” Thornberry said.
“It really is a crossroads fight.
“There was no use coming back and picking up a fight against somebody that wasn’t in the same league as Alex. He had to come back against a credible opponent and Malik ticks that box.
“If Alex can get over Malik Scott then the future looks very bright.”
Leapai said he supported Thornberry’s call to pitch him against an opponent who could easily beat him, knowing he needs to show the world his loss to Klitschko was more about nerves than a lack of ability.
“Whatever Malik Scott’s got mate, I’ll be ready for it,” he said.
“I definitely believe I’ll get a second chance at a world title shot. I definitely will be working hard and you just can’t give up, you’ve got to carry on.”