By Mariano A. Agmi at ringside
Photo by Alexander Gorohov
Former world title challenger Dmitriy Salita (31-1-1, 16 KOs) pounded out an eight round unanimous decision over Franklin Gonzalez (13-6, 9 KOs) on Wednesday night at the Oceana Hall in Brooklyn, New York. Salita showed no effects from his blowout loss to Amir Khan in December. After a slow start he took control and won 78-74 on all cards.
Full Report: Dmitriy “Star of David” Salita made a successful return to the squared circle on Wednesday at a packed Oceana Hall in Brooklyn, NY, pounding out an eight round victory over tough Dominican Franklin Gonzalez (13-6, 9 KOs) in a jr. middleweight contest.
The bout marked Dmitriy’s first bout since suffering a first round knockout at the hands of WBA jr. welterweight champion Amir Khan in December 2009 in Newcastle, England.
The fighters started out tentatively in the early rounds, with Salita edging out round one with a few right hands while the southpaw Gonzalez landed effective straight lefts to the stomach and head to win round two.
“I felt a little rusty at first, the long lay-off absolutely affected me,” stated the Star of David.
In round three, Gonzalez began to bring the fight to the hometown star, landing a clubbing left that immediately caused Dmitriy’s left eye to bruise. The Dominican was able to catch Salita with wild left hands whenever the Brooklynite backed up in a straight line.
With trainer Nirmal Lorick imploring Salita to let his hands go, Dmitriy came alive in round four, landing several hard combinations that put Gonzalez on the defensive for the first time in the bout.
“Nirmal told me to box and move around in the first three rounds, and then engage,” confirmed Salita of the change in strategy.
It seemed that the Star of David figured out the tricky Gonzalez by round five, as he repeatedly capitalized off the Dominican’s wild misses to land effective counterpunches.
Salita’s patience continued to pay off in round six, as Dmitriy used superior footwork to dodge and sidestep Gonzalez while landing counter left hooks, body punches and right hands. A right hand stunned Gonzalez in mid-round, causing the Dominican to respond with a sharp left of his own. Unfazed, Dmitriy reset and repeatedly caught Gonzalez with lead right hands.
With a packed house cheering him on, Dmitriy was in full control in rounds seven and eight, closing the show with rights to the head of a fading Gonzalez.
Judges McNair, Perez and Taylor scored the bout the same as Fightnews, 78-74, for the Star of David.
“I was happy to get back in the ring and I’d like to go again in the next few months,” stated the winner. “I dealt with a lot of pain and frustration in the last few months and this helps to put the [Khan] loss behind me.”
After the bout, fellow New Yorker Paulie Malignaggi joined Salita in the ring to hype a proposed showdown to determine who is the best jr. welterweight in New York City. “I’ve known Paulie for a long time, since the amateurs, and I’m very interested in a fight against him,” confirmed Salita. “I think it would be a very exciting fight in New York, and with the Italian and Jewish population behind us, it could be like Barney Ross and Tony Canzoneri in the 30’s.”
A smiling Malignaggi agreed: “We should do it at Madison Square Garden!”
Local prospects from the Universal Boxing Gym were also in action, as Mike Ruiz, Jonathan Cuba, Rafael Vazquez, and Rajiv Bhattacharya also posted wins on an entertaining undercard.
Rugged jr. middleweight Mike Ruiz improved to 10-4 (5 KOs), imposing his strength and superior conditioning to outhustle Providence, Rhode Island’s Josh Beeman (4-8-3, 2 KOs) over six rounds.
Ruiz, a Long Islander by way of Aguada, Puerto Rico, dropped Berman for an eight count in round two with a powerful left hook. Beeman kept the bout competitive by waiting for Ruiz to tire in each round and rallying as the stanza came to a close. However, Ruiz turned up the action in rounds five and six, landing four and five punch combinations to seal the victory with scores of 58-55 and 59-56 (twice).
Queens’ Jonathan Cuba (3-2, 2 KOs) pounded out a four round shutout over Paterson, New Jersey’s Hector Rivera (2-6, 1 KO) in a jr. welterweight bout.
Cuba, who last lost an entertaining slugfest on the Cotto-Foreman undercard at Yankee Stadium, started the bout tentatively but began letting his heavy hands go in round two. Switching from southpaw to conventional, Cuba landed an array of uppercuts, straight right hands and body shots against his opponent, often trapping Rivera against the ropes. All judges scored the bout 40-36 for Cuba.
Making his pro debut, 3 time New York Golden Gloves finalist Rafael Vasquez (1-0) employed uppercuts, right hands and a steady body attack to defeat Ben Morales (1-1) by identical scores of 39-37 in a jr. lightweight bout.
Investment Banker Rajiv Bhattacharya improved to 3-0 (3) with a quick knockout of Baltimore, Maryland’s Tyrone Gamble (0-2). The southpaw out of Stamford, CT, hurt Gamble with a straight left and finished him off with a sharp combination at 1:45 of the opening round.
In the bout of the night, middleweights Thomas Baldwin (1-0-1) and Felix Rangel (0-4-1) battled to an exciting four round draw. Newark’s Baldwin started off quickly, winning the first two stanzas with superior foot speed and sharp counterpunching. Suffering a cut over his left eye, the Bronx’s Rangel survived a tough round two to stun Baldwin in round three. The fighters took turns staggering one another in round four, with Rangel getting the better of Baldwin to earn a draw. Scores were 38-38 (twice) and 39-37 for Baldwin.
Atlantic City lightweight DeCarlo “3mendo” Perez (1-0, 1KO) was on his way to a shut out victory when opponent Filiberto Nieto (1-7, 1KO) suffered a nasty gash on his head, causing referee Pete Santiago to stop the bout at 57 seconds into the fourth and final round.
Debuting jr. middleweight Frank Galarza (1-0, 1KO) needed just 20 seconds to annihilate North Carolina’s Nicholas Morris (0-2). A Galarza right hand to the temple dropped Morris like a shotgun blast.
“Redemption” was promoted by the O’Shea Brothers in conjunction with Universal Boxing Gym and Lorick Boxing. The card was televised live on The Jewish Channel in New York City.