Kiwi boxer David Nyika claims gold medal

11:40, Aug 03 2014
Martin Knight and Joelle King
Martin Knight plays a stroke, as team-mate Joelle King watches from behind, against England's Peter Barker and Alison Waters in their mixed doubles semifinal.
Li Feng Yang
New Zealand's Li Feng Yang twists and flips during a dive in the men's 10m platform preliminaries in Edinburgh.
Phil Burrows
The contrasting reactions at the final whistle of Raghunath Ramachandra (left) and Phil Burrows as India defeated New Zealand in the men's hockey semifinal.
Silver Ferns
Silver Ferns players celebrate as England's centre walks off the court in tears after their semifinal.
Ellen Halpenny
Goal shoot Ellen Halpenny lines up an attempt at goal during New Zealand's semifinal victory over England.
Laura Langman
Silver Ferns centre Laura Langman leaps high for a pass against England.
Casey Kopua
New Zealand captain Casey Kopua collides with England wing attack Sasha Corbin.
Silver Ferns
Silver Ferns reserves (from left) Anna Harrison, Leana de Bruin and Shannon Francois celebrate their one-point win with wing attack Liana Leota.
Simon Child
Simon Child dives on the turf to knock a pass away from an Indian player.
Nick Haig
Nick Haig scores from a penalty corner to give New Zealand a 2-0 lead against India.
Stephen Edwards
New Zealand's Stephen Edwards flicks the ball between the legs of India's Raghunath Ramachandra.
Black Sticks
Black Sticks players celebrate their first goal against India from Simon Child (left).
Krystal Forgesson
Krystal Forgesson is tackled by South Africa's Lenise Marais.
Sophie Cocks
Sophie Cocks makes a tackle during the Black Sticks' bronze medal victory over South Africa.
Gemma Flynn and Petrea Webster
Gemma Flynn and Petrea Webster in action during a wet bronze medal contest.
Martin Knight and Joelle King
Martin Knight and Joelle King compete in the mixed double squash semifinals against England.
Nick Willis
Nick Willis sprints for the line in the 1500m final.
Nick Willis
Nick Willis and Julian Matthews made up the Kiwi contingent in the 1500m final.
David Nyika
David Nyika tears up on the medal dais after winning gold in the light heavyweight final.
David Nyika
David Nyika with silver medalist Kennedy St Pierre of Mauritius (left) and bronze medalist Sean McGlinchy of Northern Ireland.
David Nyika
David Nyika in action against Kennedy St Pierre of Mauritius in the light heavy gold medal bout.
David Light
Kiwi David Light evades a punch and look to throw a left hook of his own against Samir el-Mais of Canada.
Nick Willis
Nick Willis flies the New Zealand flag after claiming his third Commonwealth Games medal.
Stuart Farquhar
Stuart Farquhar flings the javelin during the men's final at Hampden Park.

New Zealand has claimed a boxing 1-2 this morning with a gold medal to David Nyika in the light heavyweight division and a silver to heavyweight David Light.

Nyika won his gold in emphatic fashion on a unanimous points decision, while Light was beaten on a split decision by Canada's Samir El-Mais.

Nyika's gold was New Zealand's first in Commonwealth Games boxing since 1990, when Michael Kenny won the super heavyweight division in front of a home crowd in Auckland.

In the fight, the 18-year-old, adorned in all blue, looked to stave off Kennedy St Pierre of Mauritius in the first of three three-minute rounds among a charged atmosphere created by around 10,000 fans at the Hydro arena.

St Pierre regularly forced him back onto the ropes, but Nyika’s long left arm and quick reactions kept him mostly out of trouble.

The Mauritian continued to throw a lot of punches in the second round, but just as he looked like tiring and Nyika was getting on top, he tagged the Kiwi who quickly shook it off and celebrated with a wee first pump.

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The judges had him marginally ahead entering the third round, and both tired fighters continued to slug it out looking for the crucial edge as time ticked down.

Nyika was a late inclusion in the New Zealand team for Glasgow - after impressing in tournaments in Europe, he got in by winning his class at the North Island Golden Gloves tournament two months ago.

But the 1.91m fighter instantly looked at home in the ring in Glasgow.

He began his campaign with a split-decision win over South Africa’s Luvuyo Sizani and improved on that with a unanimous decision over home nation favourite Scott Forrest. 

He then beat India's Sumit Sangwan by the same manner in his quarterfinal before dispatching Northern Ireland's Sean McGlinchy in a dominant display over the last two rounds.

Nyika’s fellow Kiwi pugilist was next up, also fighting for gold in the men’s heavyweight final against Canada’s Samir El-Mais on the last night of the boxing programme in Glasgow.

The first three bouts on the night’s card were all won by English fighters.

LIGHT WINS SILVER

David Light might be returning to New Zealand with a silver medal, but the 22-year-old Aucklander has all the skills to become New Zealand boxing's next golden boy.

Light this morning lost the Commonwealth Games men's heavyweight final to Canada's Samir El-Mais.

He was beaten in a split decision in front of 10,000 fans in Glasgow's SSE Hydro.

Light, a clever student who speaks fluent Mandarin, quit his job and moved back to his parents' house so he could save money and focus on boxing, is one of a number of the current New Zealand team whose careers are worth keeping an eye on.

And though he couldn't win Glasgow gold, there's a lot to like about him and his future.

Light spent plenty of time on the front foot in the opening three minutes, but all three judges gave the round to El-Mais.

Light had been unable to land any serious blows and though he used his jab to push the Canadian backwards, El-Mais landed the better of the few scoring blows.

Both were more aggressive in the second round, but again defence out-shone attack for large parts.

Light, who has a strong technical game, opted for more power in the second round and it worked.

Two of the three judges awarded the Kiwi the round, but that still left him level on two judges' cards and behind on the other.

An early left from El-Mais struck Light well and halted the Kiwi's progress momentarily.

El-Mais may have thought he was behind as the big Canadian started throwing big bombs in the final 90 seconds.

Light avoided them and countered with a few of his own but it wasn't enough to swing the result his way.

In the fight before Light's, David Nyika, the 18-year-old from Hamilton used his phenomenal speed to beat Mauritius' Kennedy St Pierre in a unanimous decision.

Nyika got the nod from two of the three judges in each of the three rounds to seal New Zealand's first boxing Games medal in 12 years and first gold in 24.

To reach this morning's final, Light knocked out Malaysia's Meeraj Omar in the second round, comfortably beat Kenya's Charles Odhiambo Okoth by unanimous points decision then slipped past local hope Stephen Lavelle in yesterday's semifinal, also on points.

Light wasn't convinced he'd won yesterday's fight labelling it too close to call and he expected the strong crowd might have helped sway the judges decision against him.

They didn't and Light joined Nyika in the finals.

Earlier in the finals session, Englishman Scott Fitzgerald won the gold in the welterweight session.

Kiwi welterweight Bowyn Morgan lost his quarterfinal to Fitzgerald in a shock decision which left even Fitzgerald's coaches looking sheepish and coaches of other fighters to tell Morgan and the Kiwi camp they thought the four-time New Zealand champion was robbed.

New Zealand's boxing two medals marks a huge return for the Kiwi team.

In Delhi four years ago they won nothing and that team included New Zealand professional boxing golden boy Joseph Parker.

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