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Rapira: Hopman’s ‘in for torrid time’

Zane Hopman fighting Alistair Boyd in 2017. PHOTO/FILE

BOXING

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Former New Zealand champion Sam Rapira is predicting a torrid fight when Masterton boxer Zane Hopman steps in the ring against Ratu Dawi at the end of the month.

The pair will fight for the vacant Pro-Box New Zealand Light Heavyweight belt at Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park on October 30, and Rapira said he would be watching with great interest.

Sam Rapira [right] hits Tai Tautere in a 2014 bout. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
“I fought Dawai in my last bout in 2018,” he said.

“It was supposed to be a tune-up ‘stay busy’ fight, but he upset me big time when he won.

“That’s when I realised that it was time to stop boxing.

“Dawai wants to prove that his victory over me was not because he caught me at the end of my career.”

Hopman came to prominence in Muay Thai, winning the 2014 heavyweight title at the IFMT amateur world championships in Malaysia.

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

He has also dropped down a division from cruiserweight to light heavyweight.

“This match is of great interest to me, as Hopman is an accomplished fighter in other codes, and is coming down in weight which can be hard on a fighter as history tells,” Rapira said.

Hopman’s manager Craig Thomson has confirmed that victory for his charge would secure a challenge for the IBF Pan Pacific Light Heavyweight title.

“We would look to stage this bout in 2021 in Masterton against Robert Berridge,” he said.

“Failing that, we would bring in an international opponent. Winning the Pan Pacific belt would give the winner a Top 15 World Ranking with the IBF.”

Thomson said tickets for the bout are selling well, and he is expecting a big crowd for the fight night.

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