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Page last updated at 06:44 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 07:44 UK

Hopoate becomes heavyweight king

John Hopoate
Hopoate was punished numerous times during his rugby league career

Rugby league bad boy John Hopoate, who gained notoriety for poking his fingers up the backsides of opposition players, has become a boxing champion.

The Tongan-born 34-year-old is the new Australian heavyweight champion after stopping Bob Mirovic in round nine.

Hopoate only took up boxing three years ago when Manly Sea Eagles tore up his contract for yet another indiscretion.

He was handed a 17-match ban 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.

Hopoate's best-known indiscretion was in 2001 when he was banned for 12 weeks then sacked by his club Wests Tigers after poking his fingers up the backsides of opposition players in tackles.

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