David Nyika secures medal, but bronze isn’t enough
Bronze isn't the medal David Nyika wants hanging around his neck when he returns from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Hamilton 18-year-old defeated Indian Sumit Sangwan by unanimous decision in his light heavyweight quarterfinal bout at the Glasgow Games yesterday morning, securing at least a bronze medal.
He fights Northern Irishman Sean McGlinchy in the semifinals on Saturday morning, with the winner moving onto the gold medal fight on Sunday, and the loser taking home bronze.
Sangwan was the top ranked boxer in the light heavyweight division in Glasgow, and despite winning the first of three rounds, couldn't stop Nyika from coming back and taking the win.
Nyika's trainer at Ringside Gym in Hamilton, Rick Ellis, said he was thrilled with his fighter's efforts, but the job isn't done yet.
He said Nyika has been trained to be able to adjust his style to suit the situation, and it's something he had to do against Sangwan.
Having dominated Scotsman Scott Forrest in the round of 16, mixing his speed around the ropes and outright domination when needed, Sangwan brought a different game plan.
''He's the top ranked boxer at the tournament, and there's a reason for that,'' Ellis said. ''I thought David won every round to be honest with you. That Indian was a good fighter, but David brought another gear.
''We've always worked on his adaptability, and he showed that again. When it wasn't going so well, he was able to change the game and work him inside. That's what makes Dave such a good boxer.''
Ellis makes no mistake about the strength Nyika has in the ring. Last month he told the Waikato Times he thinks Nyika will go on to outclass current New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker, and the likes of David Tua.
''I think Dave is a better boxer,'' he said. ''He's as good as we've seen in many, many years anywhere in New Zealand.
"David Tua was a knockout specialist and did well from that, Joseph Parker is a very good boxer, but I think Dave will go past both of them.''He's the real deal.''
Despite knocking out the favourite for Glasgow gold, it doesn't get any easier for Nyika as he prepares to take on McGlinchy in the semifinals.
Nyika is making a name in Scotland as one of the standout boxers, and the Northern Irishman will be wanting to knock over the young Kiwi.
''He's a tough, direct boxer, this Irishman, so David will have to deal with that. ''
The focus has always been on going all the way and winning gold. He won't be happy with just a bronze.''
On a day when Nyika was the only Kiwi boxer to make the semifinals, it's telling that he won't settle for ''just a bronze''.
His next fight is on Saturday morning, with finals held on Sunday morning.