By Johnny Walker
Heavyweight contender Alex “The Lionheart” Leapai recently told the world that he was ready for the Klitschko brothers.
As it turns out, the Australian-based, Samoan-born fighter wasn’t even ready for one of the Klitschko’s victims.
Perhaps guilty of looking past his next opponent, Leapai was taken out in the ninth round on Sunday by American Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson at the Doomben Racecourse, Ascot, Queensland, Australia.
In recent interviews, Leapai (25-4-3, 20 KOs) had promoted the idea that he was the next Mike Tyson, but after two strong opening rounds, he was outboxed and finally outslugged by the man who earned the derisive nickname “Safety Pin” for his anemic 2009 performance against WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.
Johnson (26-1-1, 12 KOs) strafed Leapai with vicious uppercuts to the body in the ninth round, then moved to the head and caught him flush with a right hand.
Leapai took a standing eight count and bravely tried to continue, but he got trapped in his corner, with Johnson again hitting him at will, and his team waved the white flag at 2:22 of the ninth round.
Leapai is the only the most recent Samoan heavyweight from Down Under to suffer a devastating loss at the hands of an American foe.
The recently retired David “Tuamanator” Tua saw his title aspirations ended for good with a unanimous decision loss to Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett in 2011.
Leapai will no doubt continue his career, but his first taste of elite level competition proved that he has a long way to go before his dream of fighting the world champions can come true.