In most instances I find of using leverage as a verb meaning to "take advantage of", it is in a financial context. This ngram shows the usage of "leverage" as a verb is on the rise since 1970.
More Strategic Approach in Funding Airport Improvement Grants Could Improve Airline Industry Efficiency FAA and the Congress have an opportunity to leverage the almost $2 billion annual budget for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) in ...
--Airline Competition: Options for Addressing Financial and Competition (1993)
Consortiums allow employers to “leverage” their money and provide services that would be too costly to provide alone.
-The Changing Workforce: Highlights of the National Study (1993)
I did find a usage in non-financial:
Computer-based tools can be used to leverage the experience and time of instructional designers: for instance, we've created a hypertext instructional design tool to aid us in documenting and managing courseware development.
-Multimedia for Learning: Development, Application, Evaluation
In fact, it is found in the Cambridge on-line:
to use something that you already have in order to achieve something new or better:
"We can gain a market advantage by leveraging our network of partners."
I would not use this verb to describe an altercation with bullies unless they are working in the financial or political sector.