Commonwealth Games: Nyika, Light through to gold medal bouts

By Nik Simon in Glasgow

New Zealand's David Nyika (in blue) in action against Sean McGlinchy of Northen Ireland during the men's light heavy 81kg semifinal. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand's David Nyika (in blue) in action against Sean McGlinchy of Northen Ireland during the men's light heavy 81kg semifinal. Photo / Getty Images

David Nyika danced his way into the final of the men's light heavy boxing with an elegant victory over Northern Ireland's Sean McGlinchy - before David Light also booked his place in the gold medal bout after a contentious fight with Scotland's Stephen Lavelle.

On a successful day for New Zealand boxing, Nyika won by unanimous decision in Glasgow after a graceful performance against an opponent who came out in search of a win by knockout.

Nyika, just 18, was the more impressive fighter and he toed his way around McGlinchy, who tired after an explosive start in the first round.

"I was really happy with the performance," said Nyika. "Second round I got down to work. I started working the body a little bit and he started to tire. The judges don't like to see you backed up for nine rounds and I was confident that I would be able to break him down."

Northern Ireland have a proud history in Commonwealth Games boxing but New Zealand are now guaranteed their first boxing medals - at least two silvers - since 2002.

Nyika cut a slender figure compared to his Irish opponent, and the Kiwi managed to keep McGlinchy at arms length on his route to the gold medal match.

"It's a dream come true," said Nyika. "Right from the start of the tournament I've said that I'm here for gold and I can't settle for anything less. I'm going to go into my last fight and I will give it my best performance. My family are here; they're fantastic and have followed me to the moon and back."

Nyika turned to his followers and clenched his fist on the final bell.

It was a classy victory for the 18-year-old, who will face Kennedy St Pierre of Mauritius in the gold medal bout on Sunday morning.

"He's a brute," said Nyika. "He'll come out and swing for the fences. He's strong but fades over the second and third round. I'll just draw him out. I've got to keep my cards close to my chest."

With Nyika having already booked his place in the final, the spotlight turned to Light, who fought in the final bout of the session in front of a well-oiled Scottish crowd.

The 22-year-old Aucklander got off to the slower start, losing the first round, but sealed victory with a comeback in the second and third. It is a decision that was greeted with boos by the home crowd, who believed Lavelle had done enough to win the fight.

"I thought I would be able to tune out of the crowd, but they were going hard and he was drawing off it really well," said Light.

"He really gave it a good effort and I thought he had it. Well done to him and my condolences to him because he put up a really good fight.

"My corner thought he would get the decision and they just said 'you know what, we're damn proud of you no matter what'. I was gutted, so to have my had raised was an awesome feeling."

- NZ Herald

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