While catching a glimpse of Omri Casspi last week in East Rutherford, New Jersey, after a Nets game, I also got the chance to chat briefly with Dmitriy Salita. The Ukrainian-born Brooklynite, who fights at the junior welterweight (140 pounds) level and in his spare time studies to be an Orthodox rabbi, was last seen getting crushed by world champion Amir Khan. Khan faces Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden in May. But Salita told me he hopes to be fighting in May, too, and hopes to be fighting Khan thereafter.
“A lot of things went into that fight that affected the results,” he told me of his December bout in England, which lasted only 76 seconds before Khan achieved his sensational KO. “My people weren’t allowed to be involved, I didn’t get special security for myself. It was an incredibly violent crowd, a whole bunch of angry people just waiting for me.”
Salita added: “And my close family was there. So, when I got into the ring, and saw my close family surrounded by people with blood in their eyes, it became a different kind of fight.”
“Ideally,” he concluded, “we’ll fight again.” Khan (KHAAAAAAAN!): Take care of Malignaggi, and Salita will be ready for you. May we suggest you guys fight in Brooklyn next time?
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.