You'd never mistake heavyweight title contender Alex Leapai for a boxing butterfly, but he's learnt the value of how to float in the leadup to his challenge to Wladimir Klitschko.
Hard-punching Leapai has always had the power to fulfil half of the legendary Muhammad Ali's line of stinging like a bee, but floating has become a vital part of his preparations.
Queenslander Leapai heads to Germany on Saturday for his fight against quadruple world champion Klitschko in Oberhausen the following weekend.
His trainer-manager Noel Thornberry declared himself very happy with the 34-year-old fighter's Australian-based preparations after he finished his sparring this week.
Leapai notched 130 rounds, more than he's ever logged before in his long association with Thornberry.
More importantly, Leapai hasn't had any problems with the calf injury that hampered him before during and after his win over previously unbeaten Russian Denis Boytsov, that earned him the No.1 WBO ranking and a shot at the formidable Ukranian.
"We've just substituted exercises to make sure he didn't have any calf problems in the lead-up to the fight, so I'm much happier than I was for the Boytsov fight," Thornberry told AAP.
"We've taken roadwork out and instead we're getting him doing water running.
"We put a float on him and he has to sprint in the water. His feet don't touch the ground, he's basically floating.
"He's got all the resistance in the world and no impact."
Leapai has also encountered some quality resistance in the ring, trading blows with 202cm Rumanian Razvan Cojanu, Bowie Tupou, Solomon Haumono and Kali and Wills Meehan during his heavy sparring load.
"The last few weeks we've concentrated on the taller guys namely Kali, Willis and Razvan (who) is a giant of a man," Thornberry said.
"Alex has really got his distance good and I'm very very happy with him."
He said Leapai was excited and showing no signs of nerves as he prepared to head overseas for the biggest fight of his life.
Tags: Wladimir Klitschko , Alex Leapai , Klitschko-Leapai , Klitschko vs. Leapai