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Heavyweight boxer Leapai retires

  • Heavyweight boxer Leapai retires

    Australian heavyweight boxer Alex Leapai has announced his retirement.

Told he risked blindness if he continued to fight, Australian heavyweight boxer Alex Leapai has announced his retirement.

Best known for his 2014 fight against Wladimir Klitschko, Leapai was humbled inside five rounds, but he did have the honour of being the first Australian to challenge for the heavyweight world title in more than a century.

Leapai had surgery on both his eyes after the Klitschko bout and experienced more problems after his last fight, a unanimous-decision loss to Manuel Charr in Russia.

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He said a specialist subsequently told him he risked losing the sight in his right eye if he continued to fight.

"I'm finished, I'm gone. You'll never see 'The Lionheart' in the ring again," the 36-year-old told the ABC.

Trainer and manager Noel Thornberry said it was the right move.

"He's a father of six and health is more important than anything else," Thornberry said.

"All the money in the world, all the fame is not going to help you if you're walking on your heels."

Leapai said the decision was in the best interests of his family.

"I've got to do what's right and, right now, my family is really important to me and I want to see my kids play football and I want to see my girls go to their first prom," he said.

Something of a rags-to-riches tale, Leapai was a truck driver who had his shot at a world title when he upset Russian fighter Denis Boytsov.

That turned out to be the last win of his career.

Leapai had 30 wins, seven losses and three draws in 40 professional fights after making his debut in 2004.

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