Leapai to join Fury camp ahead of Saudi mega-fight

Murray Wenzel |

Alex Leapai Jr (r) faces a busy fight schedule, with up to eight bouts this year.
Alex Leapai Jr (r) faces a busy fight schedule, with up to eight bouts this year.

Alex Leapai Jnr has earned a spot in camp with Tyson Fury ahead of the Briton’s heavyweight unification fight as his corner adopt the “Mike Tyson method” for the boxing son-of-a-gun.

The 18-year-old beat Joe Ageli in a tough professional debut earlier this month, 10 years since father Alex fought Ukraine giant Wladimir Klitschko in Germany for four world title belts.

The heavyweight prospect will fight again in his Logan, Queensland hometown on May 8 against Herve Silu Mata (3-3) before jumping on a plane to Saudi Arabia two days later.

There he’ll be in camp with Fury, and New Zealand’s rejuvenated former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, ahead of the historic clash with Oleksandr Usyk on May 18.

Tyson Fury will welcome Alex Leapai Jr into his training camp. (AP PHOTO)

Fury and Usyk will be bidding to become the first unified heavyweight champion since Britain’s Lennox Lewis in 1999.

Trainer Noel Thornberry, who took Alex’s father to within one victory of a world title, also has unbeaten cruiserweight David Nyika on the card.

The Queensland-based New Zealander will fight Michael Seitz (12-0), with victory likely to propel him into the IBF’s top 15.

Gold Coast-based Jai Opetaia will co-feature on the rescheduled card in a mouth-watering rematch with Mairis Briedis for the IBF cruiserweight title.

Thornberry says he has locked Leapai Jnr into four fights already and wants him to have up to eight this year.

“We’ll follow the Mike Tyson method – fight as often as possible,” Thornberry told AAP.

“Tyson had 28 fights in 20 months before his first title fight and nobody in the world was beating him on that day; he was so match fit.

“I’ve got four or five guys lined up already and this camp – we’re friends with Fury – he’s rubbing shoulders with the elite from the outset.”

Thornberry ensured a 22-year-old Parker had a fight on the Leapai-Klitschko card a decade ago.

“That was to expose Joseph to the bright lights, so they didn’t blind him. This will be the same for Alex,” Thornberry said.

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Nyika has had just eight professional fights but Thornberry said next month’s would “introduce Dave to the world”.

“He’s the best athlete I’ve ever worked with,” Thornberry said.

“Like Alex, he needs activity now. It’s time to get busy.”