Hamilton teenager Nyika secures boxing medal
FRED WOODCOCK AND MATT RICHENS IN GLASGOW
Hamilton teenager David Nyika is guaranteed a Commonwealth Games medal, New Zealand's first in boxing since 2002.
The 18-year-old came from behind to beat the highest ranked boxer in the men's light heavyweight section, Indian Sumit Sangwan, in his quarterfinal this morning.
Even if Nyika loses his semifinal against Northern Ireland's Sean McGilnchy, boxing award bronze medals to both losing semifinalsts so he'll match the efforts of Danny Codling and Shane Cameron in Manchester 12 years ago.
All three judges awarded the opening round to the Indian after Nyika tried to use his reach and his speed as he did in the round of 16 bout against his Scottish opponent.
Sangwan was quick too though and countered well.
Knowing he'd lost the opening round, Nyika started fighting on the inside.
"Not too many people expect a tall, lanky guy like me to do that and I think it worked."
Sangwan's coach was livid and started screaming at Indian reporters that his fighter had won the fight 3-0.
He hadn't; Nyika controlled the second and third rounds and all three judges thought so.
Nyika was rapt to have secured a medal, but said he would not let that change his focus.
"The shinier the better now, the shiner the better," he said.
"I'm up against the Northern Ireland guy, McGlinchy and I sparred with him in Belfast in our training camp. It won't be easy, but I'm confident. I'm just so glad I got past [Sangwan]. He's a good boxer, eh?"
National coach Phil Shatford was rapt.
"I told you this kid could box," he said.
Nyika's was the only success New Zealand tasted in the boxing ring today.
Alexis Pritchard, Leroy Hindly and Chad Milnes were all eliminated, Pritchard in the round of 16 while the Hindley and Milnes went out in the quarterfinals.
Pritchard's loss was the most surprising.
She felt she had missed an opportunity for herself and women's boxing in New Zealand after she suffered a surprise first round loss today.
Dominican Valerian Spicer beat Pritchard by unanimous decision in their lightweight bout, shattering the Aucklander's hopes of a medal.
Pritchard led after two of four rounds but had nothing during the second half of the fight.
"Disappointing and frustrating," she said.
"My feet weren't doing what they needed to today ... when I was in the combat zone I wasn't doing enough, just holding on like a rag doll.
"I've kind of blown it, to be honest. I don't think this is going to feel any better tomorrow, I've missed a really big opportunity for myself and for women's boxing in New Zealand, so I'm sorry.
"I really wanted to bring home a medal, I felt I had the goods, but I just didn't have it today."
Men's light welterweight Hindley was eliminated in the quarterfinal, beaten in a unanimous decision by Namibia's Junias Jonas.
Thought he was disappointed not to progress, Hindley was pleased to get as far as he had in the competition.
The 21-year-old had to stump up his own fare to Europe earlier in the year to prove his credentials before selection and this was the biggest tournament of his career.
"I'm pretty happy with getting this far," he said.
"He was the better fighter on the day. I thought it was closer than unanimous, but that's what the judges thought. I'm happy with where I got to and the whole event was fun. I'll take a lot away from this. I really wanted a medal so that sucks."
Milnes' tournament was stopped in the quarter final by Welshman Joseph Cordina.
Milne was beaten in both the first two rounds and though he won the final round, he'd left his run too late.
New Zealand has four fighters left in the boxing tournament, West Coast welterweight Bowyn Morgan, Auckland heavyweight David Light, women's middleweight Magan Maka and Nyika.
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