22 Jan 2021

Boxing: David Nyika to go pro as Olympic quest continues

7:32 am on 22 January 2021

Two-time Commonwealth Game boxing champion David Nyika will step into the professional ring to prepare for this year's Olympics, including a bout on the undercard of the Joseph Parker-Junior Fa contest.

New Zealand amateur heavyweight boxer David Nyika.

David Nyika Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Hamilton heavyweight is in Porirua for this week's National Championships, but won't enter the ring as he's the only one in his division.

That combined with travel restrictions means Nyika will instead enter the professional ranks before hopefully heading to Tokyo in July.

"It kind of made sense to take this opportunity and basically get more competition here in New Zealand because the chances are the travel restrictions are going to cripple us, so getting a bit more variety is key for me and just getting as much experience as I can leading up to the Olympics."

In the next couple of weeks Nyika will confirm an opponent for his professional debut on the Parker-Fa undercard in Auckland on 27 February.

The 25-year-old will go into camp with Parker next week to prepare for that fight.

Nyika spent time with Parker in November, sparring with the former WBO champion to prepare him for the Fa fight, which was then postponed from December to February.

While there is some professional opposition within New Zealand, just who and what quality there is appears to be the main issue for Nyika.

"There is a lot of competition out there, what we're looking for initially is just someone who is going to give us a bit of a challenge, some good tough rounds."

"It's hard for me to say as I'm new to the professional scene, it's a slightly different sport with slightly different rules, but I'm expecting it to be tough."

David Nyika and Joseph Parker.

David Nyika and Joseph Parker Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"I'm fit so I'd be keen to do at least six rounds (amateur is three), at most I've fought five rounds, so I feel six would be enough for me to come into my own and develop into the fight as opposed to thrashing around for nine minutes without establishing myself in the fight."

Nyika isn't sure what schedule he might need to prepare him fully for the Olympics in July.

"I've had 94 fights to date and I'd really like to get to 100 before the Olympics, but that's unlikely unless I make it through to a gold medal match, which would be nice."

Nyika won gold in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, failed to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics, before retaining his Commonwealth title on the Gold Coast in 2018.

He's desperate to finally compete at an Olympics which has says "has been 11 years in the making."

But beyond that he admits that it is time for him to try and reap some financial rewards from the sport and therefore these nationals will be his last.

"I've finished my apprenticeship in boxing and now it's time to start cashing-in, I've been a full-time amateur boxer for the last six years now and it hasn't really got me anywhere financially, so I need to start making some moves and maybe looking abroad to see what opportunities there are overseas as well."

New Zealand boxer David Nyika with Joseph Parker in the background.

David Nyika and Joseph Parker Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Nyika has been closely following Joseph Parker's career.

"I think I can learn a lot from what he's accomplished and how he's been managed and promoted and so it's going to be an interesting few years to see how it unfolds because I really have no idea what it's going to look like."

Rules changes made ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics allowed professional boxers to compete at the Olympics and now the New Zealand Championships are open to both amateur and professional fighters.

A couple of boxers at the Nationals this week, including light heavyweight champion Jerome Pampellone, have already had a professional bout.

The New Zealand Boxing Championships are in Porirua with the senior finals scheduled for Saturday evening.