Muslim Gadzhimagomedov defeated New Zealand’s David Nyika in the frenetic boxing semi-final to claim a spot in the heavyweight final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The ROC boxer won by a split decision after the judges awarded the bout 4-1 in his favour, guaranteeing him at least silver in the 81-91kg division. Nyika gets a bronze medal.
Nyika becomes New Zealand's first Olympic boxing medallist since David Tua won bronze in Barcelona in 1992. The others are Kevin Barry, who won a silver in Los Angeles in 1984, and Ted Morgan, who took the gold in Amsterdam in 1928.
Gadzhimagomedov and Nyika came out swinging from the first bell, with both boxers landing some shots early on.
The boxers were evenly matched throughout the first round.
Both threw a lot of punches at a rapid pace, but the ROC boxer, who is the world and European champion, took the first round on four of the five judges’ cards.
The frantic pace continued in the second round, with Gadzhimagomedov and Nyika firing off jabs relentlessly.
There was plenty of punching and counter-punching. Halfway through the round, Nyika was hit with a few good shots, but came back with a flurry of his own.
The third and final round continued like the first two, with each boxer attempting to get the upper hand.
Following the final bell, the decision went to the judges’ scorecards.
The result was a split decision, and Gadzhimagomedov was given the win by a score of 4-1.
“I guess it’s still yet to sink in.” said Nyika on getting a bronze medal. “I’ve had an amazing journey, it hasn’t been easy, it hasn’t been fun for the most part, but to have made it this far and to have succeeded in a great portion of my childhood dreams is amazing.
“Of course it’s bittersweet, I’m not going to sugar-coat it. I really wanted to bash that dude (Gadzhimagomedov); this is the sport we’re in.
But yeah, I’ve got to give all credit to him for bringing his A-game and putting his best foot forward, and I’m sure he’s pretty stoked with the result and the performance. He did really well.”
Gadzhimagomedov will fight either Abner Teixeira of Brazil or Julio la Cruz of Cuba in the final.