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Interest high for Hands of Hope

Zane Hopman … retired, but doing his bit for community. PHOTO/FILE

MARTIAL ARTS

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Wairarapa fighters will headline Saturday’s Kiwispan Wairarapa Hands of Hope 3 Fight Night at the Masterton War Memorial Stadium.

Fourteen Muay Thai and corporate boxing bouts are scheduled for the charity event, organised by Zane Hopman, owner of The Fortitude Gym, with all money raised going towards mental health.

The top billing features Corban Mita, from Masterton’s Undisputed MMA gym, a fighter who Hopman rates as having a bright future.

Mita will take on Shawn McQuaide from Titan Training Ground, Christchurch, in the last bout of the night.

The Aotearoa Muay Thai Association Youth Flyweight strap is on the line in the co-main event between The Fortitude Gym’s Boston Moylan against Tama Moeke from New Plymouth.

Moylan has a perfect record after four fights, with Hopman saying he has grown into a cool, calm, and composed fighter.

Moylan’s mother, Angela, will aim to make it a family clean sweep, when she takes on Iloa Sefo in one of the female corporate boxing bouts.

Former NZ Heartland rugby and Wairarapa-Bush representative winger Nathan Hunt and former junior world sailing champion Emma Berry are among the others stepping into the ring.

Hunt will tackle Hamish Potter, and Berry will face off against Alea Wharekura.

One of the other highly anticipated fights features Stephen Reiri against Joseph Graham.

Reiri has punched his way through two training camps while Graham is a southpaw whose confidence is high after a recent victory.

Other fights feature Kelsie Governor and Sara Manawaiti; Crystelle Bewley against Tiana ‘T-Pain’ Wereta; Mana Hohepa and Keenau Beetham; Dennis Hohua up against Ram Sekar; and Paige Drummond against Rachel Chapman.

Hopman said that all money raised from Hands of Hope 3 would stay in Wairarapa.

“The idea is to hold the money in a pool here for our local organisations to access for people who maybe need the counselling services or psychological services,” he said.

“Having the money available and people knowing that they aren’t going to be stigmatised for reaching out, or having that financial burden over them, and choosing not to go and see anybody or ask for help because of the financial strain of it.”

Tickets for the fight night are available at www.ticketfairy.com, and there will be limited door sales on Saturday night.

Doors open at 5pm and the first fight starts shortly after 6pm.

As for Hopman getting back into the ring, after he won the Pro-Box New Zealand Light Heavyweight belt against Ratu Dawai in October 2020, that seems unlikely after he hung up his gloves.

“I decided to go out on top at the end of last year,” he said.

“I was stretching myself too thin between my training, my family, my coaching, and I had too much going on.

“I might be able to do something in the years to come, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m pretty happy going forward.”

That brings to a close a storied career for the 30-year-old, the highlights winning the 2014 International Federation of Muay Thai amateur heavyweight world title, and boxing’s national light heavyweight title.

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