The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named eight boxers to the New Zealand Team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Included in the team is Glasgow 2014 Gold medallist David Nyika (men’s 91kg) and London 2012 Olympian Alexis Pritchard (women’s 57kg).
Also returning from Glasgow is Patrick Mailata (men’s 91+ kg) who twice fought Joseph Parker while Parker was still an amateur, and Leroy Hindley (men’s 69kg) who placed 5th at the 2014 Games.
Above: Patrick Mailata (red)
They’ll be joined by Games debutants Richard Hadlow (men’s 64kg), Ryan Scaife (men’s 75kg), Tasmyn Benny (women’s 48kg) and Troy Garton (women’s 60kg).
The naming will see Ryan Scaife follow in the family footsteps, his grandfather Alan boxed for New Zealand at the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver, placing fourth. Scaife trains at the Upper Hutt ring his grandfather built and at which he subsequently hosted Muhammad Ali in the 1970s. Scaife’s brother, father and grandfather were all New Zealand boxing champions.
Above: Ryan Scaife
Scaife is looking forward to being a part of the same team as defending champion David Nyika. 22 year old Nyika hopes to become the first New Zealand boxer to win back to back gold at the Games.
“It’s an opportunity for me to make history, I’m looking forward to proving to myself, my family, friends and supporters that I’m one of the best in the business,” said Nyika.
Above: Nyika competing at Glasgow 2014
Nyika has just returned to New Zealand from a training camp with the British Lionhearts boxing team, which competes in the World Series Boxing Tournament.
“I’m feeling really good, it’s been great to be exposed to competition overseas. They’re some of the best athletes in the world so to be in that environment is great and I’ve gained a lot from it,” he said.
Boxing New Zealand High Performance Manager Harry Otty is extremely pleased to be naming an eight strong boxing squad.
“With half of the team being under 25 years of age we have a fantastic mix of youth and experience and are confident they can bring home the medals. With the increase in contestable weight categories for the Elite Females it is also great to have three of the country's best female boxers as part of the squad,” he said.
“All of the athletes have performed well in qualifying events and have excelled at the high performance camps held in Auckland and Colorado Springs. They have all put in an incredible amount of work and have sacrificed a good deal to be where they are now. They are a credit to themselves, their clubs and their coaches and we wish them all the very best as they prepare for what is going to be a fantastic event and experience.”
Above: Tasmyn Benny
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes.
“Well done to all of those named to the team today. Boxing is an extremely physically demanding sport and we appreciate all the work that’s gone into getting you to this point.”
“It’s great to have so many young athletes in this bunch and we’re also pleased to welcome back four athletes from previous Games campaigns. David Nyika’s gold medal at Glasgow 2014 was one of the highlights of the New Zealand campaign and we look forward to the boxing team creating more New Zealand sporting history on the Gold Coast.”
Boxing will be contested April 5th-14th as part of the Commonwealth Games.
The naming takes the total number of athletes selected to the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team to 168.