Let’s drink to that: Ringmaster Nyika has golden touch
THIS pint golden.
David Nyika, who was given his Irish beverage nickname by his team-mates after dying his hair blond, beat Australian Jason Whateley with a unanimous 3-0 decision to win the 91kg heavyweight division Commonwealth Games title yesterday.
‘‘Gold on gold looks good, huh?,’’ Nyika quipped with his gold medal draped around his neck.
The 22-year-old became the first New Zealand man to win Games gold medals in two weight classes after winning the 81kg division in Glasgow in 2014.
He said being the first Kiwi to do that was special.
‘‘It’s history and I’m glad to be a part of that, but it wouldn’t be so without such a supportive family. My parents, my siblings, my girlfriend, all my friends and family that have supported me up to this point. It’s been a team achievement.’’
That team was ringside yesterday and ensured the home crowd was drowned out during Nyika’s dominant performance.
Chants of ‘‘Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi’’ from the home crowd early in the first round were answered by the singing of Tutira Mai Nga Iwi and chants of ‘‘Let’s Go David, Let’s Go’’ from Kiwis. The Australian chants were not heard again as Nyika pounded Whateley with flurries of punches. of Guinness is GETTY IMAGES
He said he was feeding off the parochial Kiwi crowd.
‘‘I thought if I could drown the crowd out I would slow him up a little bit. The first round I silenced the Australians a little bit and let the Kiwis shine. It was really special to have them in the crowd supporting me. I built throughout the fight as they got louder.
‘‘I could [hear them singing], and they were blasting it [ Tutira Mai] out in the courtyard before the fight.
‘‘They’d had a little bit of practice so I knew what I was coming into. It’s great to have a chant, to have something to back me up. I’ve never really had a chant before. It’s a lot better than Aussie, Aussie Aussie.’’
Nyika came into the final holding a 3-0 career record against Whateley and was quickly on the front foot as he used his reach and quickness to good use in the first round.
He battered Whateley throughout, choosing to stand in between rounds to fight the mental battle as well as the physical one.
Whateley came out swinging early in the final round, but Nyika was quickly back on the front foot with hooks and uppercuts.
It developed into a slugfest for the final 90 seconds with both fighters landing hard punches. Nyika ended the fight in the ascendancy.
Nyika said he would relax for a while before deciding his future.
‘‘I couldn’t tell you, the next few weeks I’m going to have to keep my feet up.’’
David Nyika reacts after winning his 91kg heavyweight final.