Nyika back to basics with Fury road to Saudi on hold

Murray Wenzel |

David Nyika is eager for another fight before his delayed bout in Saudi Arabia.
David Nyika is eager for another fight before his delayed bout in Saudi Arabia.

David Nyika should have been in the ring in Saudi Arabia playing his part in boxing history.

Instead, the Olympic bronze medallist was on a mower in Gatton, dodging snakes in the long grass completing one of his many part-time jobs.

“Zigged when I should have zagged,” he laughed, referring to one unlucky snake that didn’t get away.

The cruiserweight talent did his best to tune out after hearing last weekend’s undisputed heavyweight title fight – the first of the four belt era – between his mate Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk was off.

Fury cut his eye in sparring less than two weeks out from the Riyadh blockbuster and the entire show was eventually rescheduled for May 18.

The training mishap sent boxers and their teams on a mad weekend scramble to weigh up their options.

Nyika (8-0) told AAP that at one stage he was even being lined up for a shot at Mairis Breidis in an IBF world title clash instead.

He’ll likely remain on the bottom of the Fury-Usyk undercard on May 18 against an opponent yet to be confirmed. 

But the Tokyo bronze medallist and New Zealand’s opening ceremony flag-bearer knows he’s in the conversation and is busily trying to find a fight to fill the time before walking into Saudi Arabia’s bright lights.

“Three months, it’s a long time to wait and weird to try to recalibrate after getting so close to the fight date,” he said.

“It was a shock to get the news, but I’ve been in this game long enough to not be surprised by anything. You can never get too excited about a big fight that hasn’t happened yet and a big pay day, I know that wouldn’t change me anyway.

“Last weekend I just mowed the lawn, took the bins out. I like the small-town life and you stay away from all the noise on social media to stay sane.”

Nyika was only meant to be based in Gatton briefly but has fallen for the small town about an hour’s drive inland from Brisbane, where he is trained by Alex Leapai’s former mentor Noel Thornberry.

He’s now a “household name”, having fought on two cards at the Gatton Shire Hall arranged by Thornberry, and earned some extra cash as a cleaner and groundsman.

“I go for my road runs now and every’s tooting and waving,” Nyika said.

“It’s bloody cool man.”