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Injury puts title quest on hold

Zane ‘Hybrid’ Hopman throwing a punch against Alistair Boyd in May. PHOTO/CALDEN JAMIESON

By Jake Beleski

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Another knee injury has put Zane ‘Hybrid’ Hopman’s quest for the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association’s cruiserweight title on hold.

The Masterton boxer was scheduled to fight Asher Derbyshire for the title on July 15, but had to pull out of the contest after suffering the injury setback.

He had a full ACL reconstruction on his right knee last year, but this time the issue is with his left knee.

It was something that had been bothering him from time to time for about a year, he said.

“To be fair, I noticed it probably a year ago before my other injury, but I had been able to warm-up well and manage it.

“I kind of figured after having the year off, any niggle that was there would have sorted itself out, but it wasn’t the case.”

About six weeks ago things really went pear-shaped and there were signs of inflammation in the knee.

Hopman described the pain he started to feel in his knee while running as “a shard of glass getting twisted in there”.

An ultrasound revealed a cyst in the knee, with a decent amount of fluid sitting in there.

He now must wait to see a specialist and get an MRI to determine exactly what is going on in the joint.

Although he can still train to a certain degree, there was no way he could have competed at his usual level.

“I’m down the rabbit hole again,” he said.

“I can train smartly around it, but at high intensity there’s a lot of jarring . . . it’s one of those things — it comes with the beast.”

After pulling out of the title fight, Hopman was “majorly sick” for about two weeks as everything went wrong at the worst possible time.

How long it would take to get his fighting career back on track was “a bit up in the air at the moment”.

“They were hoping to reschedule for September, but it’s looking like that will be way too soon for me,” Hopman said.

“My wife is due for our second child in about four weeks, so September is kind of out for me for fighting anyway.”

He is hopeful of fighting again before the end of the year, but wasn’t ready to look too far ahead.

“We’ll just try and get the injury sorted first, and then make some decisions on the future after that.”

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