Zane Hopman [white shorts] on the attack in his 2018 win over Kafhil Mumtaz. PHOTO/FILE

BOXING

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

A national title fight in his hometown is on the cards for Masterton’s Zane Hopman.

The vacant Pro-Box New Zealand Light Heavyweight belt will be up for grabs in the October 30 bout between Hopman and Ratu Dawai at Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park.

In the build-up to the fight, 29-year-old Hopman will step into the ring against Tyrone Warren in Auckland on August 22 and Harman Singh in Whanganui on September 12.

Hopman came to prominence in Muay Thai, winning the 2014 heavyweight title at the International Federation of Muaythai amateur world championships in Malaysia.

Since turning his hand to boxing, Hopman has won eight of his 11 fights, including his last seven.

Having fought as a cruiserweight, Hopman has also stepped down a weight division and is now competing as a light heavyweight [maximum 79.8kg].

“Zane has found his natural weight, and he needs to be in the proper weight class if he wants to progress,” Hopman’s manager Craig Thomson said.

“The bouts against Warren and Singh are ideal in the lead-up to the championship fight.”

Warren, a southpaw and former New Zealand National Boxing Federation light-heavyweight champion has not fought in nearly three years after beating Dawai in a unanimous points decision.

The orthodox Hopman said: “Dawai is a handy boxer with a lot of experience and it will be good to have a few rounds with a southpaw.”

Hopman will know what to expect from Singh, who he defeated by unanimous points decision in March.

“It will be a good hit out six weeks before the title fight,” Thomson said.

“Zane’s getting the experience now and he needs to take the next step if he wants to progress as a professional and the title fight is his launching pad,” he said.

“If Zane wins and becomes New Zealand champion, the next step is a regional title, maybe something like a Pan-Pacific title.”

Thomson said possible opponents if Hopman claims the Pro-Box belt could be experienced professional Robbie Berridge from Auckland or Reece Papuni from Christchurch.

Public interest in the Friday Night Fights at Solway Park is high.

The undercard will feature six to eight fights, with the possibility of another professional bout and corporate boxing featuring Wairarapa warriors.