River City Boxing Club's Egelani Taito was effectively beaten before he began his attempt at a title at the Boxing NZ 2018 National Championships in Christchurch last week.

The 26-year-old Taito drew double Commonwealth gold boxer David Nyika first up and was immediately on the back foot.

Trainer Eddie Tofa advised his fighter to go straight on attack if he was to have any chance of beating such a formidable opponent.

"I told him to attack, attack, attack - it was the only way he was going to beat Nyika," Tofa said.


"Unfortunately, two minutes into the first round Egelani walked straight into Nyika's right hand and started staggering. He didn't go down, but the referee saw his eyes rolling and looked over at me. I had the towel ready to through into the ring. It's our responsibility as trainers to look after our fighters, especially in the amateur ranks.

"It was such a shame and just bad luck to draw Nyika first up. At the nationals it's a knockout competition, once you're beaten, you're out. For the first few minutes of the bout Egelani boxed well and he will get his chance, he has plenty of time. The aim is to get him to the stage where he can represent his country and to do that we need to go well at the nationals."

Tofa said fighting in the Elite heavyweight open division, fighters had to weigh in between 81kg and 91kg.

"My boy was at the bottom end of that weight scale and Nyika at the top end and all muscle and abs, no fat. Nyika is also much taller than Egelani. The rules of amateur boxing means he has a 28-day stand down period before he can fight again, but hopefully he will be ready in time to compete at our club championships on November 10," Tofa said.

Taito is the current North Island Golden Gloves champion, having won the title with two 5-0 points wins at the tournament in Taupo in June. Taito has had 12 fights in his amateur career, with 10 required before boxers can qualify for nationals.

Nyika went on to win the title with the referee also stopping the final in the first round. Nyika was seeking to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.