David Nyika is one victory away from New Zealand boxing history.

Three New Zealand heavyweights have claimed gold at the Commonwealth or Empire, as they were previously known, Games.

Nyika now has a chance to join Frank Creagh (1950), Bill Kini (1966) and Jimmy Peau (1986). But having clinched gold as a light heavyweight four years ago in Glasgow, his potential achievement of winning two weight divisions would be a first, and therefore outrank them all.

Big-punching Englishman Cheavon Clarke initially gave Nyika a torrid time in their semifinal – the Kiwi forced to comeback after losing the first grueling round.


Nyika's slow start can be attributed to inactivity after being forced to sit idle with his quarterfinal opponent, Cameroon's Christian Ndzie Tsoye, failing to turn up to the weigh-in.

"Usually I'd prefer one day on, one day off, so that was a little bit niggly. I had to taper for that and then taper again. I'd been sitting on my butt for six days now. I actually had to go back into full training mode just to get my body back into order and get it firing again," the 22-year-old Hamiltonian said. "It was tough but I've proven I'm up there with the best."

Ultimately, the unanimous decision over the durable Clarke, ranked No 5 in the world, spoke to Nyika's dominance in the latter two rounds. He now squares off against Australia's Jason Whateley in Saturday's final of the 91kg ranks.

"I felt it was easier and more straightforward than my first fight. I know Chev well and he always comes forward. I have the upmost respect for him so I'm glad I had the opportunity."

Whateley presents a different prospect to Clarke. The local favourite will still press forward but possess longer tools and is more boxer than puncher.

Despite taking several heavy blows in his semifinal, Whateley claimed a surprising unanimous decision. The local crowd, chanting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" throughout cheered his every punch – even those glancing or missing.

Collectively, they could wield influence and potentially skew scoring.

Even with Nyika's long limbs, sharp movement and defensive qualities, he can't afford another sluggish start. Not that he's worried.


"All I've got to do is bring him out of his comfort zone. I love fighting in other people's backyards, it brings out the best in me. Any opportunity to prove what I'm worth, prove what I'm made of, I'll take it with open arms."

Nyika won't be alone when he steps into the ring. He raced to embrace a large and vocal presence of extended family after his semifinal.

With such high expectations, and successive golds within reach, the job is only half done. But given he has won all three bouts with Whateley, favouritism sits firmly with Nyika.

"It feels great for me to have my family here – that's a huge plus for me. I've got some family here I haven't seen for years. It's unreal. It means history. You can hear my family they appreciate what I'm doing. I just want to prove to myself that I'm better than what I think I am."