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Hopman back in the ring

Zane ‘Hybrid’ Hopman wins his fight by unanimous points decision. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Jake Beleski

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Professional Masterton boxer Zane ‘Hybrid’ Hopman made a successful return to the ring on Friday night, after a nine-month injury layoff.

Hopman beat Lui ‘K9’ Te’o by unanimous points decision in their fight at the High Stakes event in Auckland.

It was Hopman’s first bout since Easter last year, after he went under the knife for a full ACL reconstruction on his right knee.

“I’m actually well ahead of time,” Hopman said.

“I’ve been very determined and had that right mindset to get back to this point now.”

He thinks his ACL was partially torn during his last fight, but it wasn’t until he was playing basketball with friends on Queen’s Birthday weekend that it completely snapped.

Despite the long road to recovery in the following months, he still had high expectations of himself before he stepped back into the ring.

“There’s always a personal expectation to perform, even coming back from the layoff.

“I’m happy with how the training’s gone and confident in what I can do.”

He admitted it took a while to find his range against his shorter and heavier opponent, but was happy to get through the fight and dust off the “ring rust”.

The new ACL stood up well to its first test in the ring, and Hopman said everything had gone according to plan.

“There’s no worry with the knee — I wouldn’t be getting in and doing it now if I wasn’t confident on it.

“It pulled up well on Saturday morning as well so that’s a good sign.”

His club is the Fortitude Thai Boxing Club in Masterton, and he said the support of his team, including trainer Dave Drummond, manager Craig Thomson and corner men Rhys Richards and Cleve Langdon, had been crucial to getting him back into fighting shape.

The input of his sponsors, Kuripuni Sports Bar and Wai Weight Gym, had also been invaluable, he said.

Hopman has now set his sights on a New Zealand cruiserweight title fight to be held in Masterton on July 15, but admits he still has work to do before then.

“I’ve got some things to go back and work harder on, but it’s just a matter of being back in the ring again.”

He said they were still looking for fighters of all levels interested in competing in a corporate fight, as part of a Wairarapa team to take on a team from Wellington.

To keep up to date with his boxing comeback you can follow his Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/hybridhopman.

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