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Bunola's Salka will receive title shot

| Thursday, June 26, 2014, 1:54 p.m.
Stephanie Trapp / SHOWTIME
Bunola's Rod Salka has his arm raised after defeating Cuban Alexei Collado by unanimous decision Friday, April 20, 2014.

When Bunola's Rod Salka went to Carson, Calif. in April to watch the Omar Figueroa-Jerry Belmontes fight, he was hoping to return home with a title shot against the winner, who was Figueroa.

“Lightning” didn't get that shot; instead he got something better.

On Aug. 9, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Salka will be taking on WBA, WBC and The Ring junior welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) in the night's main event. All three titles will be on the line.

“It's crazy because I went out there hoping to get a world title fight,” said Salka, who holds the WBC Latin, IBO International and WBA NABA lightweight championship belts. “But to get a superfight. That's a much bigger fight for me, but I'll take it.”

The fight is part of a Golden Boy Promotions card and will be televised on Showtime. According to a release issued by Golden Boy, the tripleheader will also feature IBF 140-pound titleholder Lamont Peterson against New York's Edgar “El Chamaco” Santana, and Brooklyn's own Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs will challenge Australia's Jarrod “Left Jab” Fletcher for the vacant WBA World Middleweight Championship.

This won't be the first time Salka has met Garcia in the ring.

“I actually fought him in amateurs right before we turned pro,” Salka said of the Philadelphia native.

Garcia bested Salka by split decision, but Salka isn't so sure.

“I thought that I clearly won that fight,” Salka said. “I definitely won the first two rounds ... I just think I beat him. He was ranked No. 1 in the country. It was the same then as it is now. He's number one and I'm coming for him again.”

Salka, 31, who is currently staying at Buzz Garnic's Round 2 Boxing Camp in Coal Center, said nothing will change in his training regimen.

“I'm not going to change a thing,” he said. “The only difference is that it's two rounds longer, but I don't see that as being an issue.

“The one thing that has changed is that the only responsibility I have right now is getting ready for this fight.”

Not that he was distracted during his last two fights, but the birth of his daughter and the loss of his grandfather shifted his focus at times. Not this time.

“Staying here at the camp has really helped,” Salka said. “I know what I have to do, though.”

While the fight with Garcia was announced on Tuesday, Salka was prepared for a different fight that week.

“I was supposed to fight Monty Meza-Clay Aug. 7 in Pittsburgh. Golden Boy had the contract for me to sign but they said they were going to hold off and wait and see if something else came up,” Salka said. “I'm glad they did.”

Salka (19-3, 3 KOs) is unbeaten in four of his last five fights, with the only loss coming via a controversial decision to Ricardo Alvarez in December,

Salka doesn't mind battling it out in the trenches if necessary. He handed highly touted Alexei Collado his first loss April 18 and expects to shock the boxing world again Aug. 9.

The 26-year-old Garcia, who said Brooklyn is a “second home” to him, promises to give his Brooklyn fan base a great performance.

“He's fought there; he's not from there. If you're from Philly, Brooklyn isn't going to claim you,” Salka said after hearing Garcia's comment. “I'm from Pittsburgh. I'm not going to fight a few times in Philly and start saying that's home.”

Without a doubt, Salka will be ready to throw down when it comes time to hit the ring.

“This is the biggest stage I have fought on in my career, but that doesn't intimidate me. Danny Garcia is beatable, and I'm going to show the world how it's done.”

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2667.