Nicola” Hurricane” Hopewell

Hi Nicola, It’s great to have the chance to speak with you !!


Can you tell me how you started out in boxing ?

I started boxing just attending the boxing gym to get fit. I was age 23 when I started. I was quite active as a child and in my teens but from leaving school I quite dancing and sports and was desperate to get my fitness back and do something.

How have you found sorting out sponsorship over the last few years ?

Sponsorship is very hard. When I first started no one knew who I was so it was hard and then covid hit. Some businesses who sponsored for my first 3 fights are now struggling so I’m constantly looking for new sponsors to come on board.

What sort of diet do you follow when you are training for a fight ?

I follow a good clean diet. Lots of fruit, veg, carbs for fuel when training

Could you talk me through the day of a fight, what does the day look like ?

Fight day, I try and chill and stay calm as much as possible. I love my friends and family to contact me as it takes me mind off the fight until it’s time to get in the ring.

Having had a good amateur career, what prompted the move to the professional ranks ?

I started boxing the same people in the amateurs and I also wanted a new challenge and move to the next level

Would you say your time as a dancer was a help when it came to helping your movements in the ring ?

My dancing definitely helped especially with my footwork. I’m quite light on my feet and have good balance from my dancing background.

Away from training and work, how do you like to relax ?

To relax I love to go on walks, like ride, watch tv, days out with friends and family.

What would you like to achieve in boxing ?

I want to achieve as much as I can and I trust my manager with push me at the right time.

Lastly Nicola, to any young girls that might want to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them ?

To any young girls they need to believe in themselves and train hard. Nothing is impossible and if you train hard you can achieve your dreams.

Nicola, it’s been good to have the opportunity to speak with you, all the best for the future !!

Zebo Returns

The rumoured return of Simon Zebo to Irish rugby has been confirmed on a 1 year deal which has been co funded by the IRFU. He has spent the last 3 years with Racing 92 and arguably he will return to Munster a better player than when he left in 2018.

He also has a stated aim to break back into contention with Ireland and add to his 35 caps. His return is also aided by the news that Ian Costello will return and take over as Munster Academy manager from this July once his time with Wasps has come to a close.

Both men will return to Munster with better rugby knowledge than when they left in 2017 and 2018 respectively. It will be very interesting when Munster decide to employ Zebo as he has played both wing and full back while in Paris.

Munster has now assembled a string of back 3 options for season 21/22. It really is time for all that investment start to pay dividends.

Time is starting to run out for a certain section of the Munster playing squad with experience like Billy Holland and Tommy O Donnell exiting stage left.

It is time that Simon Zebo took on a leadership role within this group and with the emergence of the likes of Gavin Coombes, Thomas Ahern and Craig Casey the next crop of young talent will need steady heads within the playing group to help them bring Munster to the next level.

Ian Costello will need to bring the academy up to scratch in the next year or two as Munster will need to produce a few more players and he will need to cast the net wide to make sure they bring in the correct people through their system and underage teams.

There is a big job for Ian Costello to get stuck into from this summer onward and his time with Nottingham and Wasps should help him shape his vision for Munster going forward….



Lions 2021

Prop : Mako Vunipola, Rory Sutherland, Wyn Jones, Tadgh Furlong, Kyle Sinkler, Zander Fagerson

Hooker : Ken Owens, Ronan Kelleher, Luke Cowen Dickie

Second Row : Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones, James Ryan, Tadgh Beirne

Back Row : Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Tom Curry, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau, Billy Vunipola.

Scrum Halves : Conor Murray, Gareth Davies, Ali Price

Out Halves : Jonathan Sexton, Finn Russell, Dan Biggar

Centre : Robbie Henshaw, Owen Farrell, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Davies

Back Three : Stuart Hogg, Anthony Watson, Jonny May, Louis Rees Zammit, Liam Williams. 34 Players

Here is the 34 man squad I would select to face South Africa in this summer’s Lions Series. I know Warren Gatland has previously selected 37 players in 2013 and 2017. Selecting 34 players gives him the wriggle room if need be to bring a few players in through injuries, suspensions….

Well done to the coaching team Gatland has selected with Robin Mc Bryde, Gregor Townsend, Steve Tandy and Neil Jenkins selected as the men to help mould a squad to try a defeat South Africa who like in 97 and 09 go into the series as World Champions.