Light hails teammate as future of NZ boxing but looks to play safe himself.

After stopping his post-fight interview session to watch David Nyika receive his gold medal, David Light looked over to the youngster and said: "That's the future of New Zealand boxing, right there."

It was a touching moment during an emotionally-charged few minutes, with New Zealand's team director, John McKay, breaking into tears after his two fighters delivered the country's most successful result in the sport's recent history.

But while Nyika is destined for a bright future in the sport, Light is less certain about his career path, with the Aucklander concerned about the possible long-term damage caused by head injuries in the professional ranks.

"If you box smartly like Nyika, then you'll never get a head injury," said Light. "If you're not fighting or sparring every day then you're pretty safe, but head injuries can happen. Boxing isn't the be all and end all; there are heaps of things I want to do with my life that require the use of my brain - I'd rather not put it at risk.


"Health is the top priority in amateur boxing, but going into the pros - taking a battering in 12-round fights and sticking through it to be tough - can leave you with a problem for the rest of your life. I don't know about my immediate future but eventually I will go back to university and get my degree."

Light, one of eight siblings, has been studying for a Masters in Chinese at the University of Auckland. While Light will take some time out before deciding on his next career move, Nyika has already set his heart on a place at the Rio Olympics.

The youngster has previously mentioned a long-term dream of turning professional, but at the moment his focus does not look beyond 2016.

"Rio is definitely the target," said Nyika. "My coach has a vision and we're slowly getting there. If our best performance isn't enough to win a medal then so be it, but we train to be the best and to fight the best.

"Boxing's a tough sport and you don't want to look too far ahead. We'll take each fight as it comes and after Rio 2016 we'll look at what's on offer in terms of a professional career or another Commonwealth Games."

At just 18 years old, Nyika has a long future in the sport. Standing at a slender 1.91m, he also has a considerable amount of physical development ahead of him, which could eventually result in a switch from light-heavyweight ranks to heavyweight.

"I'm still growing," said Nyika. "It's been a bit of a grind to front up with the big light heavyweights, but I'm just going to let my body do its thing."

If Nyika does eventually join the heavyweight division, then he will be coming up against opponents the size of Liam Messam. The youngster has enjoyed sparring sessions with the All Blacks star at their training base in Hamilton, where Nyika will return after picking up his gold medal.


"When I get opportunities overseas then I usually come back and think, 'Ah, I want to go back out there'," said Nyika. "But you have to come back to the gym and hone your craft back at home. That's what I'll do and my aspiration is to become the next big thing."