Orthodox boxer Dmitriy Salita held an intimate press conference yesterday in Manhattan that could have easily been mistaken for a “Kiddush Club” at Saturday morning services — had there been schnapps and herring.
The boxer was announcing his next scheduled fight, “Redemption,” slated for September 1 at Brooklyn’s Oceana Hall. Who he will be fighting is still unknown. While fellow Orthodox boxer Yuri Foreman was famous enough to grace huge New York subway-station posters two months ago, Salita is having trouble finding an opponent after his humiliating defeat by Amir Khan at a May 12 fight in England.
Despite his recent struggles, Salita was upbeat about the upcoming fight. “Mentally I’m very excited. After this we’ll be successful,” he said. “I’ve had a tremendous amount of community support. Hopefully very soon I’m gonna have my feet on the ground. I’ve been working very hard.”
His supporters are also optimistic. The fifteen minutes before Salita arrived in the room, a group of elderly Jewish men sat around a table, kibitzing about the boxer as if he were a promising young congregant.
“That Russian kid is really talented,” said one, referring to Salita, who was born in the Ukraine. “His wife is ‘with child,’ as they say. I found out from him at the Israel Day Parade.”
Salita’s fans hope he will win. If not, they’ll surely give him some extra herring when they see him in shul.