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Hopman ‘gonna fly now’

Zane Hopman and wife Chloe celebrate his victory. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Masterton boxer on target for top 15 world ranking

BOXING

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Masterton boxer Zane Hopman is planning some family time after winning the Pro-Box New Zealand Light Heavyweight belt, in a unanimous points’ decision over Ratu Dawai.

The victory in front of a packed house at Copthorne Resort Solway Park on Friday night could open the way for Hopman to fight a regional title, and the potential of a top 15 world ranking with the IBF or WBO.

However, before that, Hopman intends to have some time away from the sport.

“We will have a bit of a debrief with Craig [Thomson] my manager, and my coach Dave [Drummond] to see where we go after here,” he said.

“I’m going to enjoy the summer and downtime and soak up some family time and what will be, will be.”

Hopman said winning the belt felt very surreal, but everything went the way he and Drummond had planned.

“I got away to a good start, got my jab going well, and set everything up off that, and I secured the early rounds.

“I think a couple of judges scored one round to my opponent, probably the fifth or sixth where he got a bit of a second wind, but other than that it was pretty much just working to my game plan.”

The 29-year-old said he had his opportunities to try to finish the bout early when he hurt Dawai, who had to be checked by a doctor during one round with a cut to the face and bleeding nose.

“I knew I hurt him to the body at one stage probably midway through the seventh or eighth round and also gave him a good dong on the side of the head with an overhand right which gave him the wobbly legs.”

“I was just trying to be mature and not jump in and get caught with anything stupid.”

“I was able to capitalise on it and secure rounds well and accumulate lots of scoring strikes.”

Hopman said Dawai was a worthy opponent and deserved credit for not backing down.

“I just feel like my footwork and my movement around the ring, and I guess the maturity on the punch with my fight IQ really paid dividends.”

Thomson said who Hopman next fought, and where, depended on several factors, but they would look at early 2021.

“It’s just a matter of which way the world goes, whether we can bring someone internationally, or do we look at Robbie Berridge, because that’s all we’ve got, which is still a great fight,” Thomson said.

“We could do it in Wairarapa in March with Berridge, which would be ideal, but if things open up a bit more, we could look at someone a bit further afield, so it just depends how things pan out with this pandemic situation.”

Since turning his hand to boxing, Hopman, the 2014 International Federation of Muaythai amateur world heavyweight champion, has won nine of his 12 fights, including his last eight.

Gemma Wood from Napier won the main fight on the undercard beating Victoria Parr on a points’ decision.

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