“I strongly feel that Detroit has a lot of potential to become a hub for pro boxing. Not only with its own talented fighters, but also for boxers from around the country and around the globe. With consistency, competitive fights and talented boxers there’s a tremendous amount of potential for world-class boxing in the city of Detroit.” – Dmitriy Salita.
World-class boxer turned promoter Dmitriy Salita, of Salita Promotions, says the choice to base his new series of live fights in Detroit was an easy one to make. A city and state that has produced such all-time greats as Floyd Mayweather, Tommy Hearns and Joe Louis to name a few, as well as legendary trainers such Emanuel Steward and Eddie Futch is, according to Salita, the perfect place to launch a succession of top-notch boxing shows.
Appropriately entitled the “Detroit Brawl,” the series will kick off at the iconic Masonic Temple in Downtown Detroit on Saturday, February 6 at 6:30 pm. Featured that night will be a diverse array of up-and-coming prospects and established contenders from Michigan and around the world including Detroit’s James Gordon Smith (8-0, 5 KOs), Ed Williams (10-1-1, 4 KOs), James Ballard (5-0, 2 KOs), and Antonio Wade (1-0, 1 KO), as well as former world title challenger and currently world-ranked cruiserweight Junior Wright of Chicago (14-1-1, 11 KOs), undefeated Dominican Eudy Bernardo (20-0, 14 KOs), Brooklyn’s Dimash Niyazov (8-0-3, 4 KOs) and the professional debut of Turkmenistan’s former Asian Games Amateur Champion, Serdar Hudayberdiyev.
Tickets for “Detroit Brawl” are priced at $28, $38, $48, $63, $93, and $123 and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000, or by visiting the Masonic Temple box office. For event information visit themasonic.com and SalitaPromotions.com.
“Detroit is America’s great comeback city and boxing fans love a comeback,” said Salita, who once challenged for a world title and currently sports a 35-2-1, 18 KOs record as a fighter. “This city has some of the best homegrown boxers in the country and the world and we plan to highlight those talents throughout this series. I thought it was a natural to run consistent high-class show here. Detroit and the State of Michigan, as a whole, have a rich boxing culture: The boxing fans here will respond positively. And for the local up-and-comers, they will have a place close to home to build a fan base.”
Though he is Ukraine-born and Brooklyn-raised, Salita has a long history with the area, having trained here since early in his fighting career.
“I’ve been coming to Detroit for six years, to train at the Kronk Gym with Emanuel Steward and Sugar Hill, his nephew,” explained Salita. “I got a chance firsthand to see the Detroit boxing culture and witness its tremendous talent!”
33-year-old Salita started boxing at age 13 at Starret City Boxing Club in Brooklyn, New York, and went on to become a highly decorated amateur boxer before his professional career. “At the time I started boxing, the Starrett City Boxing Club was run by Jimmy O’Pharrow. It was one of the best gyms in New York City. It produced some of the best fighters in the world today. We all came up together and had ‘fights of the year’ sparring sessions almost every night. The competitive nature of those sparring sessions are what made me so successful in boxing, and when I came here to the Kronk gym I witnessed that same atmosphere.”
Still an active fighter, after losing his challenge to world champion Amir Khan in 2009, Salita says he looked around at his options and decided that with his strong fan base, becoming a promoter was a natural progression. Salita says he’s proud of diversity and talent level he’s been able to provide for the inaugural show of the series.
“I like that this show has several of Detroit’s up-and-coming stars and boxers from different places around the world as well. Junior Wright is world-ranked and one of the best cruiserweights in the world. He’s looking to get back to another world title shot. Eudy Bernardo, an undefeated lightweight prospect from the Dominican Republic, is looking to rise to the top of the division. And the Detroit fighters are some of the best including James Ballard, Eddie Williams and James Gordon Smith, a former national champion in the amateurs. Antonio Wade is another hot prospect from the Detroit area. We’ve also got Asian games gold medalist Serdar Hudayberdiyev making his pro debut. He’s already the greatest fighter his country has ever produced. People are flying out from Turkmenistan to see the fight. I’m very excited about this show and for the future of boxing in this great city!”