British boxing's bright lights suit Hamilton's David Nyika before he retains Oceania title
The bright lights of British boxing suit David Nyika.
The Hamilton heavyweight represented the British Lionhearts franchise in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) and won both his fights in France and Kazakhstan.
The British team lost their semifinal of the amateur international boxing competition to Kazakhstan's Astana Arlans in early June, but Nyika further enhanced his growing reputation by defeating Kazakh fighter Anton Pinchuk, a former top ranked heavyweight in AIBA and WSB rankings.
Nyika, who turns 22 in August, then retained his Oceania title on the Gold Coast just three weeks later with a unanimous points decision win over Jason Whateley, the Australian No 1 who the talented Kiwi has beaten three times on the trot.
Spending five weeks exposed to British boxing's booming industry opened Nyika's eyes, he said, and he admitted that one day basing himself in the UK is "definitely an option".
Fellow Kiwi Joseph Parker, the WBO heavyweight champion of the world, is in England ahead of his second title defence against Hughie Fury in Manchester in September, which promises to be the first of many lucrative fights with Britain's best.
But Nyika's gaze remains fixed on the world championships in Hamburg, Germany, in August before fighting for another Commonwealth Games gold medal on the Gold Coast in April.
He trained and sparred with the likes of British Olympic light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi, who won bronze in Rio last August, as well as gaining "really valuable" insight and advice from different coaches.
"I was out of my comfort zone, which was cool because I like to rise to occasions, and I like being in foreign territory because it gives me something to be excited about," Nyika said.
"Out here in New Zealand, I barely get fights and when I do, I know I'm supposed to kick arse."
After beating Kevin Kuadjovi in Paris to gain a point for Britain's franchise in the WSB quarter-finals, Nyika spent time training with Buatsi and members of Great Britain's Olympic team.
Nyika has previously knocked out Togolese fighter Kuadjovi in Olympic qualifying in Azerbaijan last year, but a tough assignment was next in Kazakhstan.
"I really didn't want to go to be honest because I was already getting homesick and I was being taken from one environment to another," he admitted.
"I was getting tired of the travelling and my body clock was all out of whack. I was just focused on putting on a good performance against one of the world's top ranked heavyweights."
Fellow Kiwis Chad Milnes, a lightweight, and Patrick Mailata, a super heavyweight, were also drafted into Britain's WSB team to fight in a competition stacked with the world's best amateur boxers, one of whom Nyika would face in Pinchuk, a highly-ranked heavyweight.
But he won on points unanimously in the Kazakh city of Kostanay, after being awarded four of the five three-minute rounds.
"He was a tough dude but he pretty much gave me exactly what I expected," Nyika said.
"He was a real class act and a good boxer but I knew I would just have to stick to my guns."
Nyika returned home having "never felt fitter" with his weight settled around 91kg after training three or four times a day for four weeks.
The Oceania Championships in late June then saw him defeat a Papua New Guinean fighter before beating Australian Olympic boxer Whateley for the third time in his career, and retain the Oceania title he won in 2015.
AIBA's world championships commence in Hamburg from August 25 and Nyika will head to Germany having worked harder than ever with a new intense training schedule well underway.
Nyika lost to Uzbekistani boxer Rustam Tulaganov at the quarterfinal stages of the last world championships in Doha, Qatar back in 2015.
Tulaganov also beat Nyika in Olympic qualifying last year but only time will what his next move might be after the Commonwealth Games, and whether he turns professional or targets another Olympics.
Nyika said: "Turning professional is just a matter of timing. I've worked too hard not to reap some rewards from boxing.
"But I'm not boxing to prove a point to anyone but myself."
AT A GLANCE
New Zealand's medals at the Oceania boxing championships
Gold: David Nyika (91kg), Ryan Scaife (75kg), Richie Hadlow (64kg)
Silver: Patrick Mailata (91kg+), Jarrod Banks (81kg), Chad Milnes (60kg)
Bronze: Leroy Hindley (69kg), Keegan O'Kane-Jones (56kg), Ivan Pavich (53kg)