Boxer David Nyika Is Unstoppable
By Nathan Limm (he/him)
Fresh after locking up New Zealand’s first Olympic boxing medal in 29 years, David Nyika is already fielding offers for professional bouts.
The Olympic bronze medallist is looking to focus on his pro record after getting knocked out of heavyweight title contention in Tokyo by Russian world champ Muslim Gadzhimagomedov.
Nyika has emerged from managed isolation in Christchurch and says numerous potential opponents have been in contact.
“We’re basically taking stock of what options are available. Once we’ve got all of our options laid out in front of us, we can start actually negotiating and figuring out what our best move is.”
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist made his professional debut earlier this year on the undercard of the Joseph Parker versus Junior Fa bout.
It took Nyika just 28 seconds to knock first-up contender Jesse Maio to the canvas and take his record to 1-0.
However, whilst the 26-year-old has shown great promise in his juvenile career, he says fulfilling his potential will require a move overseas.
“We just don’t have the sparring available that I need to keep developing as a boxer and athlete. I’m looking tentatively at the UK at the moment and maybe even going to train for a while with Andy Lee and Joseph Parker.”
His amateur record speaks for itself – with 62 wins from 76 bouts, Nyika is confident he’s served his apprenticeship long enough.
He says having a full team around him in a professional framework will give him the platform to flourish as a fighter.
“Boxing is a lonely sport. For me it’s been difficult being self motivated, being disciplined to write my own boxing programme. So taking the load off by training with a group and a coach that already has a boxing stable will be quite important.”
Despite the pointed move towards professionalism, Nyika is hesitant to break ties with his amateur setup.
He says High Performance Sport and the New Zealand Olympic Committee have been a constant source of support.
“[They’ve] been crucial in terms of keeping me afloat, not just financially but with my mind and body. I’ve been working with my strength and conditioning coach for about seven years now. Working with some of the physios and sports psychologists; it’s
an incredible format.”
Nyika admits he is tempted to continue to pursue amateur glory on the side. He says there is a chance he could still turn out for New Zealand at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham to defend his title.
“A professional career is where I’m going to be making money and making a living. There’s a big future for me in professional boxing. I just don’t want to shut the door on amateur boxing just yet.”
Money is a key factor in Nyika’s vision for the future. He is well aware of the distant yet impending life he will lead after his time in the gloves is over. Nyika says boxing is all-consuming as a sport and he does not want to make the mistake of overstaying his welcome.
“A lot of guys and girls probably get too deep in the sport and it gets really hard to get out. Especially when they’re doing it to make a living. I don’t want to be relying on my physical attributes when they might not be there anymore.”