Gold medal­list among en­trants

Box­ing na­tion­als in Queen­stown

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By LO­GAN SA­VORY

New Zealand box­ing’s golden boy David Nyika is set to make a re­turn to the ring in Queen­stown next month.

Queen­stown will host the 2014 New Zealand Box­ing Cham­pi­onships. It will be the first time the re­sort town has hosted the event in the 112 years it has been run.

Nyika gained a big fol­low­ing last month when the teenager won gold at the Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow.

Those within the box­ing com­mu­nity were aware that the kid from Waikato had tal­ent, but his gold medal hon­our en­sured ev­ery­one else in New Zealand was brought up to speed.

Ste­wart Mitchell, who is putting on the na­tional cham­pi­onships in Queen­stown, said Nyika’s per­for­mance in Glas­gow, and that he is head­ing to fight in Queen­stown, was a huge boost to the champs.

Mitchell hoped his ap­pear­ance would boost crowd num­bers and said Sky TV had also now shown in­ter­est in tele­vis­ing the event.

All but one of the 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games box­ing team will fight in Queen­stown with Bowyn Mor­gan the only one miss­ing.

Mor­gan has opted to turn pro but will travel to Queen­stown to watch the ac­tion.

Mitchell has plans to take the New Zealand Cham­pi­onships to a new level with the way it is hosted this year. The English­man, who is now liv­ing in Queen­stown, wants to put on a good show and hopes to pull in a crowd of about 1000 for the fi­nals on the nights of Oc­to­ber 10 and 11.

He said the plan­ning has stretched back two years.

‘‘Box­ing in New Zealand I think should have a bet­ter plat­form for the am­a­teurs, as far as the shows that are put on, its on the back­burner a bit. It’s in work­ing­men’s clubs and things like that, which is fine but it should have mar­quee events.

‘‘With the Events Cen­tre in Queen­stown it will be fan­tas­tic pre­sen­ta­tion, fan­tas­tic seat­ing and ta­bles and it will look the part. We are go­ing to town on it and it’s ba­si­cally a full­time job pro­mot­ing it.’’

As part of the at­tempt to build in­ter­est in Queen­stown Mitchell said he had worked hard to en­sure that they would have home­town tal­ent for peo­ple to watch.

Of the six Otago box­ers due to com­pete, five are from Queen­stown. They are Callum Owen, Martin Mech, Sam Con­nelly, Mike Smith and Richie Hablow. Oa­maru’s Zac Korkou is the other Otago rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

About 200 box­ers are ex­pected al­to­gether, with some com­ing from Aus­tralia.

Mitchell said tick­ets would be priced from $20 for a day pass through to $120 which would get peo­ple to ev­ery day as well as a meal on the fi­nals night.

For­mer world heavy­weight ti­tle con­tender David Tua will be the guest of hon­our.

Photo: FAIR­FAXNZ

Fight night: David Nyika on his way to win­ning gold at the 2014 Com­mon­wealth Games in Glas­gow. He is pic­tured fight­ing Kennedy St Pierre from Mau­ri­tius in the fi­nal of the men’s light heavy cat­e­gory.

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