Hopoate Beats Mirovic on points in Canberra

By Paul Upham: Australian heavyweight boxing champion John Hopoate retained his title with a ten round unanimous points decision win over former champion Bob Mirovic in their rematch on Thursday night July 23 at the AIS Arena in Canberra. The SuperBoxer match headlined a card promoted by Fidel Tukal’s Empire Boxing, televised live on ONE HD.

“Full credit to Bob, he went ten rounds and he just kept on coming,” said Hopoate. “He put in a real tough fight.”

34 year-old “Hoppa” Hopoate 12-3 (11), fighting for the first time since his disappointing 2nd round knockout loss to Oliver McCall in Las Vegas on May 22, came out strong in round 1, winging some hard punches. The action stopped briefly when Mirovic accused Hopoate of trying to injure his arm in round 1.

Hopoate had defeated Mirovic by 9th round TKO to win the Australian heavyweight title on September 10 last year. It was later revealed that Mirovic snapped a bone in his right arm during round 6. Mirovic had accused Hopoate of intentionally breaking his arm in a clinch.

In round 2, Hopoate was pressing the action as 43 year-old Mirovic 29-21-2 (20) received a number of strong punches to the head. Blood trickled from Mirovic’s nose as Hopoate appeared to be in control of the fight. Mirovic came forward towards the end of the round and landed a left hook and right hand which got Hopoate’s attention.

In the first clinch of round 3, Mirovic again complained to referee Brian McMahon that Hopoate had tried to break his left arm. The accusations infuriated Hopoate, who responded with hard right hands and left hooks when the action resumed. Mirovic landed some nice punches on the inside at times, but his workrate was insufficient to make a positive mark on the judge’s scorecards.

In the middle rounds Mirovic was not being effective with any of his punches, many exchanges ending in clinches after single shots.
There was a break in the action at the beginning of round 7, when a ring rope came loose in one of the neutral corners. Both boxers verballing each other from across the ring during the delay. A straight right hand landed hard on Mirovic’s jaw and forced him backwards after the resumption. The former champion was fighting without confidence and appeared rusty.

Mirovic, who weighed in at 264½lbs, three less than his last fight, tried to work on the inside in round 8, however the power of Hopoate, who weighed in at a career high 254½lbs, was defining the match. An accidental head clash saw Hopoate back off for a split second.

Mirovic lost a point in round 9 for holding. The veteran had little offence left as Hopoate threw some fast hooks looking to end the fight.

Hopoate came out aggressive to start round 10, determined to finish Mirovic. The veteran was simply holding on as more blood flowed from his nose.

All three judges scored the fight for Hopoate 99-90, 99-91 and 97-94.

“I have to take my hat off to John,” said Mirovic. “There is no excuses. I have a lot of respect for John Hopoate. He is as strong as an ox.”

Date: Thursday July 23, 2009
Location: AIS Arena, Bruce, Canberra, ACT

John Hopoate w.ud.10 Bob Mirovic
Australian heavyweight title
Ben Edwards w.tko.1 Sam Leuii - heavyweight
Erin McGowan w.ud.6 Angie Parr - lightweight
Ged O’Mahony w.ud.4 Bruce MacFie - middleweight
Steve Ciappara w.tko.4 Arnold Pelman - heavyweight

Paul Upham
Content Editor
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