Bob Mirovic pounds the punching bag in preparation for his next bout.
Bob Mirovic pounds the punching bag in preparation for his next bout. Brenden Allen

Mirovic has Hopoate in sights

THREE-TIME Australian heavyweight boxing champion, and part-time TV star, ‘Big’ Bob Mirovic is using Byron Bay as a training base for a potential return bout against former rugby league bad boy, John Hopoate.

If he can get past Hopoate, and regain his Australian title, he’s looking for a shot against Sydney Swans forward Barry Hall, who is considering a switch to boxing.

Mirovic is training in a makeshift gym, helping a friend doing panel-beating work after the recent hailstorm, and indulging in his other passion – surfing.

The 42-year-old boxer is on the comeback trail after badly breaking his arm in his previous bout against Hopoate back in September.

Mirovic broke his arm in the first round of that fight, but went on boxing despite the pain. Over the final three rounds he could only defend with one hand and his trainer, former world champion Jeff Fenech, eventually threw in the towel.

“I wasn’t happy with that, but he was looking after my safety,” Mirovic said.

“I felt it pinch in the first round and that was probably when I fractured it and in the course of the next eight rounds, because of me punching with it, that’s when it compounded into a big break.

“In the seventh round that’s when I knew that it was clean broken, because I felt a sharp pain there.”

Mirovic had to have a titanium plate inserted in his arm after the fight and has been recuperating and readying himself for a return bout against Hopoate. If all goes according to plan, they should have a re-match on the Gold Coast in February or March next year.

“Our last fight was a good, hard, brutal fight and people said what a great fight it was, so if a re-match happens it will be really big,” he said.

“If I can manage to win that fight I would become the only four-time heavyweight champion of Australia.”

Mirovic has sparred with former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and fought against Joe Bugner, who famously went the distance with Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

At short notice, he also took on the world’s biggest heavyweight boxer, Russia’s Nikolai Valuev, who stands at 213cm and weighs 144kg.Mirovic has also branched out into television.

He played a heavyweight in the upcoming mini-series False Witness, appeared in an episode of Bondi Rescue and could have a part in the second series of Underbelly.

Stay tuned for the next round of Mirovic’s colourful career.


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