11 Sep 2008

Hopoate wins Australian heavyweight boxing title

6:18 pm on 11 September 2008

The former rugby league international bad boy John Hopoate has won the Australian heavyweight boxing title to add a new chapter to a professional sporting career that seemed to be in ruins a few years ago.

Hopoate, who gained international notoriety for poking his fingers up the backsides of opposition players in his league days, claimed the title when the defending champion Bob Mirovic threw in the towel in the ninth round.

Hopoate, only took up boxing three years ago when his National Rugby League club Manly tore up his contract after he was banned for 17 matches for a tackle that left an opponent badly concussed and bleeding from the ear.

It marked the ninth time Hopoate had been suspended from the NRL with bans totalling 45 matches for offences ranging from abusing match officials to turning up to training drunk.