Salka gets first title shot; eyes ranking
“Lightning” Rod Salka is hoping that lightning, indeed, strikes twice.
For the first time in his professional boxing career, the Bunola boxer will fight for a title when he opposes Dorin Spivey for Spivey's NABA lightweight title Oct. 12 at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Spivey, 39, of Portsmouth, Va., won the previously vacant NABA title by a seventh-round TKO of Victor Vasquez, also at the Tropicana Casino.
Salka (16-1, 4 KOs) wants badly to defeat Spivey (41-6, 30 KOs) in the first scheduled 10-rounder of his career. But it's not that title that he has on his mind.
It's the chance for fighting a bigger title down the road, thus lighting striking twice.
“This is what I've trained my whole career for,” Salka said. “THis is my first title fight. And if I can win this fight, it will get me into the top 15 rankings in the world and then I could be in line for a bigger title shot. That's the ultimate goal.”
Salka, who trains at Buzz Garnic's Round 2 Gym in Coal Center and is trained by the trio of Garnic, Monessen's Michael Moorer and Speers' Ron Roule, said that while his ultimate goal is to get into the world rankings and move up from there, he won't look past Spivey.
“He's a solid fighter. He's ranked No. 9 in the world, so you know he's a good one,” Salka said. “I'll train hard for this fight. I'm really excited.”
In Salka's last fight, the 135-pounder defeated Joseph Laryea in an eight-round decision on June 22 in Green Tree.
He realizes going against Spivey is a big step up.
“It's my first 10-rounder. But if you are a fighter and you have aspirations, this is what you train for,” he said. “This is why I do what I do. I worked hard to be in this position.
“I always wanted to have a shot to go for a world title and this is the big step I have to make.”
Salka, who also spends some time training at Mon Valley Crossfit Gym in Elizabeth, said he is excited to have Moorer join his training team.
“Mike's credentials speak for themselves,” he said. “Buzz and Ron do really good work with me, too. I have a great team and they all do different things that help me. Mike is more hands-on. He's making a big difference in my training.”
Salka, who has also been dabbling in promoting local fight shows while he boxes, won't be promoting his next show.
“This one is being handled by another promoter,” he said. “All of my attention is focused on fighting and beating Spivey.”
He said he was contacted when promoters were looking for an opponent for Spivey and he jumped at the chance.
“This is a step up. I'm fighting for a title. But I'm ready for this,” he said. “I'm glad to have the chance and I have to make the most of this opportunity.”
Tickets for the fight can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.