Boxing: Olympian David Nyika already seeking pro debut opponent

The search has begun - if you want to be Kiwi boxer David Nyika's first professional opponent, just give David Higgins a call.

The Duco Events boss has revealed the Tokyo Olympic hopeful wants to fight on the undercard of the rescheduled Joseph Parker-Junior Fa bout early next year.

Nyika, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, will be among the contenders for heavyweight gold, when the Olympic tournament kicks off in July. 

But with qualification already assured, the 25-year-old is now eligible to make his professional debut before officially turning pro - probably down a division as cruiserweight. 

Under current IOC rules, as long as a fighter fulfils the qualification protocols of the local boxing body, they can fight professionally and not jeopardise their Olympic ambitions.

Rio was the first Games to allow professional boxers, but only Italy's Carmine Tommasone took up the opportunity.

Nyika has one more obligation to Boxing New Zealand - the national championships in January - but otherwise, he has the organisation's blessing to seek whatever tune-up fights he needs. 

"It's in David's and Boxing New Zealand's best interests that we allow David to take whatever fights he feels he needs to best prepare him for a successful campaign in Tokyo,"  Boxing NZ chair Keith Walker tells Newshub. 

"David has the nationals in January, but outside of that, both us and the NZOC [New Zealand Olympic Committee] are happy for him to box professionally." 

Higgins says the shift to a February-March date for the Parker v Fa showdown is a "blessing in disguise", providing time to find a suitable opponent for the Waikato native.

The promoter has challenged any budding professionals to fight one of the very best amateurs on the planet.

The dispensation provided by the NZOC and Boxing New Zealand is a reward Nyika didn't see coming, and he believes it will aid his Olympic preparations.

Nyika says fighting on such a marquee international event would provide a wonderful opportunity to market himself for what he hopes will be a world championship-level career. 

"Anyone would be extremely excited to be on such a prestigious card," says Nyika, who has been part of Parker's sparring team.

"This fight will enhance my performance and enhance my lead-up to Tokyo.

"I was running on empty leading up to the qualifiers last year and my motivation to train was getting really hard.

"The sparring has been incredible - I appreciate all the work that I have got from Joseph's entire team and I am looking forward to being back in camp, come January 1.

"This goal has been important to me to immerse myself into a new environment."

Nyika is currently the only Kiwi boxer named for the Olympics, with one more qualifying event to come in Jordan next March.