Dmitriy Salita still hasn’t found a streaming or television partner in the United States, but that financial obstacle hasn’t stopped the Michigan-based promoter from staging shows in and around Detroit to keep his contenders and prospects active.
Salita’s “Detroit Brawl” card on Wednesday night will feature seven fighters he has under contract, including unbeaten junior welterweight contender Shohjahon Ergashev and undefeated light heavyweight contender Ali Izmailov.
Uzbekistan’s Ergashev (22-0, 19 KOs) is set to square off against Angel Martinez Hernandez (14-1-2, 14 KOs), a hard-hitting, 23-year-old Mexican, in the 10-round main event of an eight-bout card at The Garden Theater in Detroit. Russia’s Izmailov (8-0, 6 KOs) will encounter Eric Murguia (14-0, 12 KOs), of Mission Hills, California, in the 10-round co-feature for the USBA 175-pound crown.
“Although we do not have a deal with a streaming or TV platform at this moment, if you look at the five shows we’ve done this year, all of them have been TV quality,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “And this one coming up on [Wednesday night] is certainly that. It’s very rare that you see these types of high-quality fights on off-TV shows.”
Streaming rights in foreign countries and ticket sales have helped enable Salita to keep this series going, yet there is risk involved that doesn’t exist if a promoter receives a license fee from a network or streaming service.
“It is very costly,” Salita said. “I’m one of the younger promoters out there and this is an investment in my business, to keep my fighters busy and progressing them into the right position, even though we do not have a TV deal. I made a presentation to these fighters that they were gonna stay busy and progress in their careers.
“Ergashev is the best contender, the best prospect in the junior welterweight division. Ali Izmailov is trained by John David Jackson. John David said he is the best light heavyweight in the world, even better than Beterbiev. … I think this is the most consistent, probably best ongoing series in the United States.”
Though the late Emanuel Steward’s famed Kronk Gym isn’t open anymore, there are six gyms within a three-mile radius in Detroit. Former WBC super welterweight champion Tony Harrison owns and operates one of those facilities, SuperBad Boxing Gym, which also serves as a learning center for children in his hometown.
In addition to Ergashev and Izmailov, six undercard bouts are scheduled, most of which will feature fighters from throughout Michigan. Super middleweight Joe Hicks (2-0, 2 KOs), a former U.S. Olympic Team captain from Grand Rapids, and Detroit’s Da’Velle Smith (3-0, 3 KOs) are among the prospects scheduled to compete Wednesday night.
“This is really a grassroots effort through social media and the local newspapers to really promote the event, promote the fighters,” said Salita, who went 35-2-1 (18 KOs) as a junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight from 2001-13. “So, in a way, it’s kind of old-school promoting. One of the reasons I’m able to do this, and I’ve gotta give credit where credit is due, my first promoter was Bob Arum in the early 2000s, before things were streamed online. He’s probably the greatest promoter of all time, and I’ve seen how he functions. Then I was with Lou DiBella and was a big part of the ‘Broadway Boxing’ series.
“So, I saw these two top promoters, two Hall-of-Famers, the business that they did and how they did it, and both were very effective differently. As a fighter, a young guy who was always observant of what was going on, I really feel very fortunate and blessed to have had those experiences. Those were a significant part of my education as a promoter. That’s had a very positive effect on my business today.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.