Golden boy can't wait for rumble in Rio

BEN STRANG
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014
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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Sleep was put on hold when Hamilton's gold-medal winning boxer David Nyika returned home from the Commonwealth Games early Thursday.

Nyika beat Kennedy St Pierre, of Mauritius, in the Glasgow final last week.

And the first thing he did on arriving home?

"I got back at 2 in the morning and I went straight to the telly and watched [the fights]," he said.

"I don't know, I should have been in bed. There was a lot of good stuff, but there's a lot of stuff we can work on. There's a long way to go."

It's telling that Nyika hasn't spent too much time celebrating the victory.

The enormity of what he had achieved sunk in half an hour after the bout was finished, when he stood atop the podium.

Tears flowed down his face as the New Zealand flag was raised, with God Defend New Zealand playing in the background.

Now that he is back home, the focus has turned to the Rio Olympics, and after a short break it will be down to work.

First, he and Ringside Gym coach Rick Ellis will look back on the footage of his fights in Glasgow, and then work on improving what Ellis said was already an exceptional boxer.

"We sent him away a fantastic boxer, and he's gone over there and shown everyone.

"Many things," Ellis said when asked what Nyika needs to work on.

"Small things, subtle things, he needs to refine all sorts of little things in his game. There's other things we can experiment with to bring out more.

"He's at a level which is exceptional, I believe, and to suggest that this is as far as he can go, it's a little bit of naivety sneaking in there I would imagine.

"Limitations are brought on by yourself. If he's got no personal limitations, then I can't see why they'd exist.

"The Olympics is another tournament. They call it a step above, but it's just another part of the journey. In my opinion, and I'll say it here, he can medal at the Olympics."

That's been the goal for Nyika since he first stepped foot inside the Ringside Gym ropes.

He said he will take a couple of weeks to relax and enjoy his achievements, but then it's on to preparing for the national championships later this year.

"I've got a lot of dedicated fans, like my parents both came to watch me compete, and I've got a lot of pride for my country. I'm just real happy I could do everyone proud."

It won't be the last time Nyika does the country proud.

Book your tickets for Rio.

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- Waikato Times

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