Hoppa to box!

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First Grader
Bad boy Hoppa takes up boxing
By Phil Rothfield
April 3, 2005

BANNED rugby league bad boy John Hopoate has taken up boxing to support his family of nine and will have his first professional fight in eight weeks.

<img src='http://www.alternateeagles.com/addins/autogallery/Gallery/2005rd2_Manly_v_Cronulla_46-20/Players/rd2-players09.jpg' alt='' style='vertical-align:middle; border:0' />

The player, who was rubbed out of the game by the NRL judiciary for a vicious high tackle two weeks ago, is training in a Manly gymnasium to prepare to step into the ring.

Hopoate, 31, who had a $90,000-a-season contract torn up by the Sea Eagles, climbs out of bed at 5.30am each day to undergo gruelling fitness sessions.

"I've got a wife and eight children to feed so I'm not going to sit around and do nothing," he said. "My kids range from 10 months to 13. There's a massive grocery bill every week. This is all for them.

"I've had 200 job offers in the past couple of weeks but boxing is what I want."

Hopoate ended his rugby league playing days as one of the game's most notorious figures.

In 2001 he made international headlines when he was suspended for deliberately poking his finger into the backsides of several opponents.

But now he's preparing to step into the toughest and most brutal of all sports with hopes of becoming an Australian champion in the cruiserweight division by the end of the year.

"My reputation will never change, even if I took up ballet dancing and not boxing," he said.

The former Manly star says he has been inspired and influenced by league players Anthony Mundine and Solomon Haumono who both made successful careers out of boxing after handing in their footy boots.

"I've always been a fan and a friend of Anthony Mundine. He's done it and so can I," Hopoate said.

Hopoate will be trained on the northern beaches by Dave Millward, a respected conditioner who has been in the corner for world title fights and has handled Australian champions.

"John's got a lot of skill and a lot of mongrel," Millward said.

"He's got the right temperament and the killer instinct. We're basically converting him from a footballer to a boxer."

"The sky's the limit on the amount of money he can make. Mundine is making a million dollars a fight. Hoppa's hardly at that level yet but he'll make more money than he did out of football."

Manly official Peter Peters will be another in Hopoate's corner, assisting with the management and promotion of fights.

"There will be a lot of people wanting to see him get knocked out and there's a lot of people, particularly here in Manly, who will get right behind him," Peters said.

"This isn't a gimmick. We're looking at initially five fights and then hopefully the Australian cruiserweight title. That's the goal.

"The first fight will be at Manly Leagues club and the interest will be so high I reckon it will be shown on cable television."

The Sunday Telegraph
Is this an April Fools joke? Are you sure it wasn't written on April 1st.

Hoppa is probably able to take a lot of hits to the head - as his brain is elsewhere!

Imagine a fight between 'the Man' and Hoppa. Fans wouldn't know who to hate the most!!!!

Can you use elbows in Boxing? Maybe he would be better in street fighting or professional wrestling where he could the the bad guy/villain - maybe with the name The Finger!!! :blaugh: :blaugh:
<span class='smallblacktext'>[ Edited Sun Apr 03 2005, 07:56PM ]</span>
I also thought this was an April fools joke. No surprise to see Zorba taking on the role as Mgr / promotions man. I'm sure they'll be looking for a few taxi drivers for the first few fights to generate some interest . Then they should offer Monty Betham some cash to take on Hoppa. Betham would knock him out in Round # 1. Nevertheless , if Hoppa is choosing this path as a way to look after his wife & kids .......Good luck to him !!
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6 2 4 -31 6
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7 2 5 -29 4
6 1 5 -102 4
6 0 6 -90 2
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