David Nyika is finding out that the more you learn, the more you realise perhaps you don't know as much as you think you do.
After a stunning amateur career including two Commonwealth Games gold medals and an Olympic bronze, Nyika has made his move to the professional realm, with his second professional bout against Frenchman Anthony Carpin (5-6-2) this Sunday (NZT) in Manchester.
Opening up the pay-per-view portion of the card for Joseph Parker's rematch against Derek Chisora, Nyika has been training with Parker, Andy Lee and Tyson Fury in Morecambe, soaking up as much knowledge as he can.
As it turns out, there's a lot he didn't know about this game.
"When I talk to Tyson Fury, he's very adamant that there's a massive difference between amateur and professional boxing, so it became apparent very quickly. Every sparring with some of the professionals, I realised this is a different sport, and I think I was a little bit too sure of myself maybe," Nyika says.
"Being humbled is always valuable; to get out of your comfort zone and realise that you're not Mr Know It All. I've had a lot of time to myself over the past four years and I've had to build that self-belief by myself in a lot of ways, so letting go of the wheel and letting someone else take care of my development, putting me in a direction and letting that be what it is has been super important for me."
Sunday morning's cruiserweight bout against Carpin has brought with it a lot of firsts for Nyika. His first professional fight in an international setting, it has been the first time in his career he has had to cut weight – dropping about 5kg in the last week - and it will be the first time he has fought in 10oz gloves.
The size of gloves is an important difference not just in punching but also defending as the heavily padded gloves worn in the amateur ranks provide more surface area to protect the face. Nyika (1-0) estimates the gloves he'll wear for this weekend's bout have about as much padding in them as those he wore at the Olympic Games earlier in the year.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"These are designed to protect your hands, not designed to protect your opponent's face," he says. "It's really just for show."
Knowing the power his punches pack and the equipment he'll be using, the stage is well set for Nyika to announce himself to the international audience at Manchester Arena.
While amateur bouts are usually on the short side, Nyika will have four three-minute rounds to work in against Carpin although, all going to plan, he won't need the full 24 minutes.
"That's what I've learned over this camp; this is the entertainment business. The hurt business," he says. "If you're not knocking guys out people are going to lose interest. A lot of the technical stuff that I've been learning over the past couple of months have very much been along that theme of being spiteful in the ring and punching with a bit of malice. It's eat or be eaten in this sport, and I'm learning that more and more every day.
"It's a crazy sport. What have I gotten myself in to? It's wild and I love it. I'm having a great time, I've had the best camp with the best people and I've got great sparring. I'm excited about this fight but also where I'll go after this fight and what doors will open."
Parker v Chisora II
Manchester Arena, Sunday December 19 (NZT).
Pay-per-view card begins from 7am on Sky Arena and Sky Sport Now.
Approximate fight times
David Nyika v Anthony Carpin: 7am
Joseph Parker v Derek Chisora: 11am