Leapai Jnr's narrow escape in pro fight debut victory

Alex Leapai Jnr's professional boxing career has begun with a scare, the teenage behemoth overcoming New Zealander Joe Ageli's frenetic start to win an Adelaide slugfest.

The 18-year-old son of former world heavyweight title challenger Alex Leapai lost an action-packed first round before dominating the second half of the four-round bout on Wednesday night.

Victory was decided in a more even second round.

One judge awarded it to the Kiwi 31-year-old, but the other two crucially gave Leapai the round, setting up his win 39-37, 39-37, 38-38.

Both men swung freely, Leapai taking some early punishment before delivering a retort that culminated in a powerful six-punch combination in the final seconds of the fourth round that somehow didn't floor the staggering Ageli.

Alex Leapai Jr (right) narrowly won on debut against Joe Ageli in Adelaide.

The 122kg giant was a schoolboy rugby league standout signed to the Sydney Roosters and then Gold Coast in the NRL.

But he opted late last year to follow in his father's footsteps full-time.

"It was a great experience, great atmosphere and just great to get some rounds in," Leapai told AAP.

"Ageli didn't faze me; he was just throwing some wild punches. Some stuck, but I had control.

"But I'll take this and learn from it. The whole week was awesome."

Leapai is trained by Noel Thornberry, who took Leapai's father all the way to a four-belt world title shot with Ukraine giant Wladimir Klitschko 10 years ago in Germany.

"I'll be back training next week and I'll fight every month if I can, but I trust Noel to make the call on what's next," Leapai Jnr said.

Headliner Jackson England then won a split points decision - 96-94, 96-94, 93-97 - against former world champion Jamel Herring that will likely see the Australian super featherweight move inside the top-10 of the WBO rankings.

A host of retired AFL players filled the nine-fight card that served as a prelude to the city's Gather Round.

Former Brisbane and Carlton star Mitch Robinson was an impressive debut winner against former Richmond talent Kayne Pettifer, who suffered his first loss in a four-fight professional career. 

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