Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 16:30
Motion capture technology follows boxer Alex Leapai.
Motion capture technology follows boxer Alex Leapai.

A team of UQ researchers is helping Australian world heavyweight title contender Alex Leapai prepare to win the heavyweight championship of the world in Germany later this month.

By using the motion capture technology commonly used for animated movies, the researchers from UQ’s Centre for Sensorimotor Neuroscience (CSN) analysed Mr Leapai’s signature punch, the Samoan Bowler, for its speed, angle and force.

While athletes from a range of sports have been put through a series of tests and exercises, this is the first time the CSN researchers have run experiments on a boxer.

Post-doctoral research fellow Dr Dominic Farris, from the School of Human Movement Studies, said it had been an interesting exercise for the team to break down the titleholder’s movements.

"We were using ultra-high-speed footage and reflective markers tracked by a series of infrared cameras to analyse his movements and watching the power punch was amazing,” Dr Farris said.

"By placing the markers on his upper body and arms, we can reconstruct a model of what Alex does when he punches.

“Speed, angles and distance measurements are what we can get from these types of data.

"We can measure how fast his hand moves when he punches and how rapidly he's extending his arm.

“While this is a preliminary study set up to describe Alex’s movement patterns, a future goal of ours is to study the true impact force of such punches.”

Mr Leapai said he was grateful to the researchers for conducting the experiment to see what his movements were like.

 "I just wanted to see how the Samoan Bowler punch looked,” Mr Leapai said.

“It's a different punch, it's not a straight punch, it comes right up and this was an experience I'll never forget.”

Mr Leapai, who is from Logan, will travel to Germany to take on Wladimir Klitchsko on April 26 for the heavyweight championship of the world.

Media: Caroline Day, +61 7 3365 6989, caroline.day@uq.edu.au

             Helen Burdon, +61 7 3365 7436, h.burdon@uq.edu.au