Heavyweight boxer David Nyika turned on a classy display to overwhelm his Australian opponent Jason Whateley in the gold medal fight today.
Nyika, 22, won every round on every judges’ scorecard and now joins a select group of New Zealanders to have won gold medals at successive Commonwealth Games.
In Glasgow four years ago, he won the 81kg division. This year he was in the 91kg division, but still seemed just as fast, while clearly gaining in power.
Nyika has the hallmark of really top-class athletes – he seems to have time to spare. He was too fast for Whateley and able to land with both hands, sometimes stringing together combinations of five or six punches.
Whereas in his semi-final against Englishman Cheavon Clarke, Nyika had to dig deep to get through, he was always in charge today against Whateley.
Nyika said later he was not surprised by how the Australian had fought.
“We’ve fought four times now,” he said. “Each time he brings a bit more to the fight. But I knew if I could drown out the crowd by having a good first round, it would give the New Zealanders here a chance to shine, and that’s what happened.
“It wasn’t easy. Boxing is a tough sport, and I’m exhausted after a difficult year, but I’m very happy.”
Nyika said it was a special thrill to win back-to-back gold medals. “It’s history, and I’m glad to be part of that. I’ve got to thank my friends and family so much for the support they’ve given me.”
It is unclear where Nyika will go from here. He spoke of how impressed he was by Joseph Parker’s exploits as a heavyweight and the influence he had had on New Zealand boxing. “I’d like to follow down Joseph’s path, but just now I want to rest for a while.”Gold Coast 2018 Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games David Nyika Boxing