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Salka successful on two counts at Court Time boxing event

About Jeff Oliver
Jeff Oliver 724-684-2666
Local Sports Editor
Valley Independent

Jeff Oliver is the Valley Independent sports editor.

By Jeff Oliver

Published: Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011

"Lightning" Rod Salka had lots of reasons to be happy Friday night.

Salka, a Bunola native and a 2001 graduate of Elizabeth Forward, made a triumphant return home as a fighter, beating Gabe Morris in a unanimous 6-round decision in the main event of a four-fight card at Court Time Sports Complex.

He also enjoyed his first event as a promoter as the show drew in excess of 500 fans.

"This is a great night," said a joyous Salka (14-1, 3 KOs) after he defeated Morris, of Toledo, Ohio. "I feel good. I fought a good fight. I beat the kid up a little bit, but he was tough. And we had a great crowd. I'm really happy how things went. Boxing isn't dead here.

"I think we are going to do this here again sometime soon."

Salka, a lightweight (135 pounds) who was fighting up in class against the bigger Morris, was the winner on all three judges' cards by scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 59-55.

"It was a war with a lot of body punching," said Buzz Garnic, who worked in Salka's corner and has been helping train the 28-year-old pro for over two years now at his complex, Round 2, in Coal Center.

"It was a good fight, a crowd-pleasing fight," Garnic said. "The fans got their money's worth. I thought Rod did some good things, but he has to use his jab more. We will work on that. He did some good things with combinations though."

Neither Salka nor Morris went to the canvas during the fight, but Salka was in control from the opening bell.

"I did a lot of good things in there, but I have a lot to do yet. I've got some things to work on, but I will build from this," Salka said.

Former boxing champion Paul Spadafora, of McKees Rocks, was in Salka's corner.

Another local fighter, Dan "Hardway" Harvison of McKeesport, made his ring return after nearly five years and won a unanimous 4-round decision over Omar Myers.

Harvison, a cruiserweight, won on all cards by identical scores of 40-36.

The McKeesport grad started his career with a 14-0 record and was climbing in the ring rankings, but then stopped fighting and had been out of action before returning to up his pro record to 15-0.

"Danny looked good. I'd like to see both of us get another good fight before the end of the year and then possibly get ourselves in position for a big fight," said Salka. "We can bring boxing back to the area again and bring it back big."

Also on the card, Antwan Aikens defeated John Fairley and John Smith beat Mike Miller in a pair of 4-round decisions.



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