Kiwi boxers attract promoters after Glasgow

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 13:57 05/08/2014
David Nyika
ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ
GOLDEN PROSPECTS: Kiwi fighter David Nyika has pro boxing promoters interested after his gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

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New Zealand's biggest boxing promoters are keen to sound out the country's Commonwealth Games stars about their futures.

Duco Events boss Dean Lonergan said his company had been monitoring the outstanding form of Commonwealth Games light-heavyweight gold medalist David Nyika and heavyweight silver medallist David Light.

They were thrilled to see their success and were interested to see how they might fit into the country's rejuvenated professional scene.

"We're always interested in talking to talent," Lonergan said.

Duco's Kiwi stable is headed by heavyweight Joseph Parker and light-heavyweight Robbie Berridge, who have both rocketed up the world rankings over the last couple of years and are in action in the United States this Sunday on a televised card.

Duco are about to add Australian welterweight Jeff Horn to their list with Lonergan describing the 26-year-old as a "once-in-a-generation boxer".

Nyika, blessed with good footwork and fast hands, could claim the same title in New Zealand terms, winning the country's first Commonwealth gold since 1990.

Lonergan believed amateur boxers were capable of making an easier transition to the professional ranks now that they were fighting without headgear and using the same 10-point scoring system.

He said it would be up to Nyika and Light as to how they saw their futures, but they were certainly interested in "touching base".

But Duco may be out of luck with both fighters if their comments in the immediate aftermath to their Glasgow success are anything to go by.

Light, 22, indicated he had little respect or interest in the money ranks and also wanted to ensure his long-term health in a sport that has little regard for head injuries.

Nyika, a late starter for the Commonwealth Games team who blossomed into one of their stars, suggested he would like to pursue an Olympic dream at Rio de Janeiro in two years' time.

Some insiders suggest Nyika is more talented than Parker. He will certainly need all his skills to just reach Rio, let alone prove a force there on a boxing stage with far more talent than the Commonwealth can deliver.

Parker found out how brutal the Olympics selection process is after he missed out on the London 2012 Games and then turned professional, quickly making inroads.

"It's a hard road as an amateur and two years is a long time," noted Lonergan.

"A talent like Joseph has quickly seen how he can earn good money for himself and his family in that time."

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Lonergan's partner at Duco Events, David Higgins, said the biggest outcome he hoped for from boxing's success at the Commonwealth Games was that it received improved funding, describing the financial support handed out in the leadup to Glasgow as "a pittance".

- Stuff

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