John Hopoate reveals what really made Joey Leilua's wife flip the bird

Pictured right is John Hopoate and the angry wife of Joey Leilua on the left.
John Hopoate has denied that Joey Leilua's wife flipped him the bird after her husband's fight in Sydney. Pic: Main Event/Getty

John Hopoate wants to set the record straight on a couple of fronts before he gets to his real mission statement.

It wasn't him calling Joey Leilua out after the former NRL star won a unanimous decision over Chris Heighington on this week's Paul Gallen-Darcy Lussick undercard.

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And it certainly wasn't him who Leilua's wife Tiana flipped the bird at as mayhem ensued following the bout.

"The media's got to get their story right and not just write bullshit," Hopoate told Yahoo Sport Australia.

"It definitely wasn't me she (Tiana) was having a go at. It was someone else in the crowd.

"Joey is my mate. I did a sparring session with him before the fight.

"I was not calling him out. It was his coach (trainer Hassan El-Achrafi) who I had a problem with.

Pictured here, Joey Leilua connects with a big punch to the face of Chris Heighington.
Joey Leilua won via unanimous decision against Chris Heighington on Wednesday night in Sydney. Pic: Getty

"After the first round I let the coach speak. When he had a break, I said a couple of things to Joey.

"The coach looked at me and said 'who the f..k are you, fuck off' and then told of the other trainers to tell me to f..k off.

"The trainer said nothing but I was burning so I stayed until the end of the fight.

"The old me would have pulled the coach out of the ring then and flogged him but I didn’t because I didn't want to wreck it for Joey."

Hopoate wanted to have it out with El-Achrafi at the end of the bout but the pair were kept apart.

"I did grab him by the shorts and tried to pull him out of the ring, but he hit the ropes and bounced back in," Hoppa laughed.

John Hopoate wants another shot at Paul Gallen

Hopoate, 48 next month, also wants to set the record straight on a third front.

He craves another shot at Gallen, three years after the former Sharks and NSW Origin captain knocked him out midway through the second round of their Hordern Pavilion stoush.

Hopoate now admits he was too cocky for his own good and won’t make the same mistake twice.

Seen here, Paul Gallen attacks John Hopoate during their 2019 boxing bout.
Paul Gallen gave John Hopoate a beating in their 2019 fight in Sydney. Pic: Getty

"I want to fight Gal again so I can do it right this time," he declared.

"Having 10 years off and then training for eight weeks to fight Gal (in 2019), I was kidding myself if I thought I was just going to walk in there and win.

"But I’ve been training properly every day for the last four months and, if given another chance, I promise I would beat the sh*t out of him."

Hopoate will have to move fast, with Gallen planning to retire next year at the urging of his wife and daughters.

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