Alex Leapai hasn’t been fazed by his first face-to-face meeting with the much taller Wladimir Klitschko, declaring he plans to exploit a weakness in the triple heavyweight world boxing champion in their title fight in Germany.
They met for the first time at a press conference on Wednesday morning (AEDT) in Oberhausen, where Leapai will attempt to cause a massive upset on April 26.
There was no trash talk from either man, with 37-year-old Klitschko speaking respectfully about Leapai and refusing to look beyond his bout with the Queenslander.
At 198cm, Klitschko (30-4-3, 24 KOs), is a whopping 15cm taller than 34-year old Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KOs) and also has a huge 16cm reach advantage.
The Ukrainian colossus has won his last 19 fights and by the time he steps into the ring with Leapai it will be more than 10 years since his last loss.
Those impressive statistics and a close-up look at the champion have done nothing to shake Leapai’s belief he can topple the long-standing champion.
“Klitschko is a gentleman,” Leapai told AAP over the phone from Germany after the press conference.
“He’s a very tall man, he’s no different to a lot of the guys that I’ve fought.
“But he’s probably a more experienced boxer and knows how to use his reach, so it’s something that we’ve got to work on.
“I’ve fought a lot of guys his height.
“We’ve just got to get inside. Once we get inside, it’s goodnight Irene.
“I know he’s not going to make it easy, but it’s just something that we’ve got to do, at short quarters.”
Leapai was convinced Klitschko would go into survival mode once he felt the Australian’s renowned punching power.
“He’s just a little bit taller than me, but he’s got a weakness and come April 26, we will expose that weakness,” Leapai said.
“I still feel that he hasn’t fought anybody over the last 10 years that has come to fight, that has come to take it off him.
“I just feel that it’s time for us Australians. It’s our time and I feel that once he feels what I’ve got, it’s all going to change.
“I’m just so determined to put Australia on the map and make history.”
A driver by trade, Leapai will be able to train full-time in the lead-up to the biggest fight of his life.
“I get the opportunity now to train three times a day, before it was only two hours a day,” Leapai said.
“The main thing I’m focusing on is being fit and strong for this fight, just getting the right sparring partners too.”