Gold medallist among entrants
Boxing nationals in Queenstown
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.
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.