Samoan Boxer Returns Home For Blessings Before Title Bout

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Alex Leapai, from Lauli‘i, to fight heavyweight champ Klitschko

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Feb. 21, 2014) – The Samoa-born boxer Alex Leapai came back to his family and country of birth at the village of Lauli’i, twenty minutes east of the capital Apia, to get their blessing and prayers as he focuses on defeating the towering Wladimir Klitschko for the WBO heavyweight championship title 27 April in Germany.

A subdued traditional Samoan welcome fitting only for very important guests, gunshots and chants heralded the arrival of the 34 year old boxer and his entourage from Australia who had to make the trip as Leapai seeks the ultimate inspiration to draw from in his upcoming feat.

Before the traditional welcome ava [kava] ceremony, six church ministers led the prayer service then the boxer knelt in front of the village elders and capacity supporters as the church ministers had their hands on his head and shoulders as they prayed to bless him.

Then is a ceremony loaded with oratory and metaphors, Leapai who speaks fluent chiefly Samoan language, got his blessings from the village elders and high chiefs.

The difference in height is obvious

Leapai told the media later that he will now have to stay focused for the rest of the time before the fight as he has no other target but to win the fight for his family, his village and country Samoa and Australia (where he is lives with his family in Logan).

Relating his middle name ‘Lionheart’ to Lauli’i, a village well known for producing fearless Samoan warriors, he said he will make good of his name come fight day.

The 34 year old was born in Samoa and lived in New Zealand for eight years before moving to Australia, the country he now represents. He has recently spoken openly about the bad things he has done in his young life and it is why he desperately needs to win the title to restore the respect he has lost and to make his family, his village and country proud.

He will become just the second Samoan boxer to fight for a world heavyweight title, 14 years after David Tua was beaten by Lennox Lewis. He cites Tua as an inspiration and believes he can win the fight.

"It will be a dream come true and it’s all about reaching that goal and proving it to the kids out there that anything is possible. I’ve done a lot of bad things in life and to be able to turn it around and never once dream that I was going to be fighting the world championship, held by these guys like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. But for me it’s not about the money and I promise you guys one of us is going to get knocked out but it ain’t going to be me".

Leapai earned his title fight with victory against the previously undefeated Russian Denis Boytsov in November.

Wladimir Klitschko has won 61 fights, 51 by knockout, with his last defeat coming almost ten years ago against Lamon Brewster.

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