Dmitriy Salita - "I Am More Than Ready For Amir Khan"

Exclusive Interview by James Slater - Unbeaten Ukrainian-born Dmitriy Salita, who has lived in New York since the age of nine, has been the WBA light-welterweight mandatory challenger for quite some time. Made to wait until now to get his shot at the title, the 27-year-old with the 30-0-1(16) record is set to meet Britain's Amir Khan, in what will be Khan's first defence, in December of this year. Looking forward to the fight in a big way, Salita is also very confident of victory. Very kindly taking the time to give me the following interview earlier today, Dmitriy had these answers to my questions:

James Slater: It's great to speak with you, Dmitriy, thank you for your time. You have waited so long for your shot at the WBA light-welterweight title, are you happy to be facing Amir Khan at last?

Dmitriy Salita: It's been a very long time coming. I was at one time supposed to fight Gavin Rees (when the Welshman was the WBA champ). That's how long it's been. But I'm excited to have the opportunity now, and I will make the most of it. I knew this day would come. I've had the best possible boxing education you can have living here in New York, working alongside world championship calibre fighters from such a young age. I am more than ready..

J.S: Most people, when they look at Khan, point to his speed as his best asset. He has very fast hands and feet. People also ask, how will you cope with his speed? I know you're a pretty fast guy yourself.

D.S: That's true, Amir does have very fast hands and feet. There are a few different ways to tackle speed. I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to do (laughs). I won't give away my tactics. We are working on a few different things in camp, and God willing, it will be - "and the new!" at the end of the fight.

J.S: Talking about how the fight will go, do you see a distance fight, or do you envisage a KO happening?

D.S: I do envisage a KO as a real possibility. I see the fight playing out a few different ways, actually. I know I have to be mentally and physically prepared, and I feel good about some things I have seen in Amir's style that I can take advantage of. I have seen things I can take advantage of in his defence and in the way he moves.

J.S: Another thing people talk about when it comes to Khan, is his chin. He has been KO'd quickly before - do you plan to test that chin, to exploit it?

D.S: You know, we will have to see how the fight develops. But in boxing, boxers of course get hit. I'm a student of the game, and I have been for a long time, and I know what the old-timers say. They say Khan has a pointy jaw, and that stereotypically that means he is chinny. And it seems as though that is true. There is nothing that can de done to change that. I won't be aiming for his chin - there are a lot of different ways you can win a fight, but he will definitely be in a hard fight and he will definitely get tested. He boxed well against [Andreas] Kotenlik, and he deserves credit for that, he and Freddie Roach, and I expect a tough fight December 5th.

J.S: How do you rate you own punching power, and do you have a favourite punch?

D.S: My power comes from speed and timing. I've had one-punch knockouts in the past - as you can see on my official web site. KO's come from speed and timing.

J.S: And how do you rate your chin? I know you have been down before, in your draw with Ramon Montano. You have no concerns about your ability to take a shot?

D.S: I wasn't well going into that fight [Vs. Montano]. I was sick and I hadn't properly recovered going into the fight. My chin has stood up well. I feel I am the best junior-welterweight in the world. This fight with Amir will open doors for me, so that I will be able to fight the Ricky Hattons of the world. I want to fight the best fighters in the world.

J.S: Which pro fight, to date, would you say was your toughest? Would you say the Montano fight?

D.S: Every fight is tough. It depends on you yourself. You have to be ready, mentally and physically, and that can be tough. I expect a tough fight against Amir. I can't just say any one fight [was my toughest].

J.S: Do you have one win that comes to mind as your best showing thus far in your pro career?

D.S: I think I looked good in my fight with Shawn Gallegos, who is a little similar in style to Amir Khan. I stopped him in the 9th-round, and that was when I won the NABA title. It was a big event in New York City. When the lights are on I put it all together, and I know this fight on December 5th will be under the spotlight.

J.S: Are you happy to be coming over to the U.K for the fight, are there any concerns about what could happen if the fight goes to the scorecards?

D.S: That is the obvious concern. Bad decisions and bad judging gives the sport a black eye. I hope none of that happens, and that everything is kosher, and that whatever happens happens right. I will do my best and I hope the judges will recognise that at the end if it goes to the cards.

J.S: I see you have been as high as 146 in the past. Do you make 140 easily enough?

D.S: I make it easily, well, it takes a bit for me to make 140. It takes work and discipline, no doubt.

J.S: Not looking too far ahead, but assuming you beat Khan, and I know you are very confident; will you stay at 140 and try to unify the belts, or will you maybe move up?

D.S: We'll see what opportunities present themselves. I do admire Ricky Hatton. I'd say I look up to him. He's been one of the biggest figures in boxing in our day. He beat one of my heroes in Kostya Tszyu, and I'd really like to fight him - either in England or in New York. I know Ricky said he always wanted to fight at Madison Square Garden. I'm sure that fight would get a lot of attention. But, first things first - I'm focused on the fight with Amir.

J.S: Well, we wish you good luck for that fight, Dmitriy. It's been a pleasure speaking with you, thanks for taking the time. We look forward to seeing you when you get to the U.K.

D.S: Thank you. I look forward to the hospitality of the British people.

Article posted on 26.09.2009

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