Nyika, Light to fight for Glasgow boxing gold
MATT RICHENS AND FRED WOODCOCK IN GLASGOW
David Light is confident he can win gold, but isn't sure he should even be in the Commonwealth Games heavyweight boxing final.
The 22-year-old Aucklander breathed a huge sigh of relief when his arm was raised in his semifinal win over local hope Stephen Lavelle this morning and now he and Hamilton teenager David Nyika will fight for gold medals.
Their gold medal bouts are first thing tomorrow morning (NZT).
"I thought he had it," Light said of the semifinal win over Lavelle.
"My corner did too and they just said, 'no matter what happens, we're proud of you'. I was just gutted."
Light had lost the first round, but changed his plan in the second. He looked far more aggressive and landed more punches.
"I thought I got some okay shots in and thought I might have nicked the second round but I wasn't sure."
He'd won it all right then did the same in the third to seal the come-from-behind victory.
Should either Nyika or Light win, their's would be New Zealand's first Commonwealth boxing gold since Michael Kenny won the super heavyweight division at home in Auckland in 1990.
Light paid his own way to international trial meets and to prove himself while Nyika had to win the North Island Golden Gloves two months ago to secure his late ticket to Glasgow.
Because of that, Light was just rapt to have won a fight in Glasgow, but now he has the chance at a gold, he's tweaked those goals.
"My goal was just to get a bronze so I could go away with something. Now I'm in the final I really want the gold," he said.
Light will take on Samir El-Mais for the gold medal after the Canadian beat Nigeria's Efetobor Apochi in a unanimous decision while Nyika will take on Mauritius' Kennedy St Pierre in the light heavyweight finale.
Nyika wore Northern Irishman Sean McGlinchy down like a pro overnight, using his reach advantage to land vital scoring blows and his incredible speed and agility to duck and weave his way out of any potential trouble.
As McGlinchy started to drop his hands, Nyika pounced and the second and third rounds weren't even close.
"I was really happy with the performance," Nyika said.
"Maybe a tiny bit lazy (in round one) ... but I was confident I was going to be able to break him down. Second round I really got down to work, started working the body a bit and he was starting to tire, which makes it that much easier to get on the inside."
Nyika said St Pierre was a "big, strong guy" and he couldn't afford to take any risks in the final.
He has received a plethora of support from back home from people who "want to get behind me and follow my dream to be the best", which was spurring him on.
"It's a dream come true, but like I've said I'm here for gold and I can't settle for anything less."