On Saturday night in Manchester, England, Vyacheslav Senchenko landed a debilitating left hook to Ricky Hatton's liver in the ninth round. The former junior welterweight champion crashed to the canvas. He tried to rise, but the pain was too excruciating, and he was counted out. Senchenko's upset has possibly opened doors for welterweight contender Dmitriy Salita.
Here's how: WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi (32-4, 7 KOs) had hoped to get a rematch with Hatton, assuming the latter would defeat Senchenko. But since that didn't happen, Malignaggi's plans are out the window. He likely won't fight Hatton's conqueror. Malignanggi thoroughly trounced Senchenko in April to win the belt. That could pave the way for Salita to earn his second title shot.
Salita (35-1-1, 18 KOs) told The Jewish Boxing Blog, "I am looking to fight [Gabriel] Bracero and then Malignaggi. That is the plan." The fight against Bracero (20-1, 3 KOs) would possibly take place in February. Bracero, a light-punching skilled boxer from Brooklyn, has a date scheduled for December 19 at Roseland Ballroom.
Bracero was badly beaten during a decision loss to DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley in January. He's won two fights since and is looking to regain momentum for his career. Nicknamed "Tito," the native of Puerto Rico is a New York favorite and a clash with Salita would be quite intriguing.
Beltholder Paulie Malignaggi is looking to fight in April and Salita hopes a win over the credible Bracero will earn him that date. If Plan A falls through, there are other options. Senchenko (33-1, 22 KOs) is one. Salita said, "We were talking about fighting each other several times but it did not work out. I would be interested in that as well."
Two men who have called out Dmitriy likely won't be in the picture. Francisco "El Gato" Figueroa (20-5-1, 13 KOs) had some unkind things to say to an unnamed reporter at BoxingScene.com earlier this month. Phil D. Jay reports that undefeated Canadian welterweight Phil Lo Greco (25-0, 14 KOs) also had some disrespectful comments aimed at Salita. Dmitriy correctly asserts, "Both fights will not do much for my career."
Salita explains, "My ultimate goal is a fight with Paulie for the WBA title. I feel I did my part in deserving a second title shot. I guarantee that I will take full advantage of it and take care of business inside the ring."
In the meantime, Salita Promotions is putting on an amateur card called Brooklyn Brawl which will be held at the Fight Factory Gym in Brooklyn, New York on December 2.