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Bugner bags Aussie heavyweights

“YOU can't beat fitness.”

That's the simple message former world champion Joe Bugner is preaching to Australian boxers looking to make their mark on the international stage.

Bugner's comments come on the eve of the Alex Leapai - Cliff Couser heavyweight bout at the Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club on Friday, September 4.

Bugner, who has fought some of the biggest names in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, said he was concerned about Australian Leapai taking on the American, who is a half brother to “Iron” Mike Tyson.

“I think this fight poses a huge risk for Leapai at this stage of his career,” Bugner said.

“While I think the bloke has plenty of ability and talent, he needs to work on it - especially his fitness.

“From what I have seen of him in the past, he does leave himself open to a knockout punch and this American is a journeyman who has such a punch.

“This is a great fight for him promotionally but he has to remember that one punch is all it takes to turn the tide in the ring, and unless he is fit this could be a dangerous bout for him.”

Bugner said that Leapai, like so many young, promising Australian boxers, needed to seriously appraise what they wanted out of their boxing careers.

“Don't get me wrong, Alex is a good young fighter, but I think he doesn't take this sport seriously enough,” Bugner said.

“He needs to be aware that when you start taking on overseas fighters, you need to be prepared, and that means being fit and ready. If you aren't, you'll end up in bits and pieces.

“Alex strikes me as being a bit lazy at times, which isn't good.

“This guy Couser, coming from America, has nothing to lose.

“Even if he does it hard for the opening few rounds and then just runs out of steam, he will still get paid.

“But if he knocks Alex down, that could spell a major setback for Leapai's career and for Australian heavyweight boxing.”

Bugner said the state of Australian heavyweight boxing wasn't strong, with very few fighters able to “go the distance”.

“I think I could name about five boxers in this country who might go the distance, but if you leave this country to fight overseas, it's a major step up and I simply don't think our young fighters want to work that hard for a title,” Bugner said.

“The younger generation tend to take things for granted and that can be fatal in the ring.

“Just because a boxer may not look like a bloke who can fight, doesn't mean that he can't - looks can be very deceiving.

“Boxing is a serious business and you can't make excuses for your own failures.”

Bugner said while he was often critical of the Australian boxing scene, he was totally behind the development of young fighters prepared to do the work.

“Jamie Myer is doing a great job of bringing quality overseas fighters to this country and I don't think our guys here appreciate that,” Bugner said.

“This is a great opportunity to develop and further their careers, but it's all about doing the work and getting fit.

“Without sounding like I'm blowing wind up my backside, I just think some of them should get out some of my old fight tapes and have a look - I made sure I was as fit as I possibly could be so I finished the fight as strongly as I could.

“I firmly believe if you go into the ring not having done the hard work and come unstuck, you only have yourself to blame.

“I am looking forward to this fight at Tweed and will be in the crowd to see how Alex goes.

“I sincerely hope he can prove me wrong.”

The fight night will also feature Tweed Heads' Casey Hannan fighting Brisbane's Adam King in a welterweight bout and Tweed's Trevor Jacky fighting Ipswich's Marlon Toby in a light heavyweight bout.

They will be supported by a strong undercard featuring a number of local amateurs in action.

Tickets for the fight night are available through the golf club on (07) 5524 4544.

To get up to date on all the boxing action from around the Tweed and across the globe, check out Tony Nobbs' weekly column “On the Ropes” (Page 25).

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