Dmitriy Salita’s hopes of a second world title shot lie in tatters after he was convincingly beaten by Brooklyn rival Gabriel ‘Tito’ Bracero at the Aviator Sports and Events Centre in New York.
Ukraine-born welterweight Salita hit the canvas in the eighth round on his way to a heavy points defeat which has effectively ended his hopes of lifting the WBO International title.
Although he quickly returned to his feet, Salita, 31, was already trailing on points and former jailbird Bracero’s left hook inflicted further damage as the Salita suffered cuts below his eye and on his forehead in the following round. In the end the judges scored 100-89, 99-90 and 97-92 in favour of Salita’s fellow New York immigrant.
Salita ended the fight — and possibly his career — standing toe-to-toe in the 10th round as the pair exchanged punches until the final bell. But it will prove a long, hard road back if he still has the ambition to reignite his world title aspirations.
"I feel that Gabriel fought his fight, it was physical,” said Salita, who returned to the ring for the first time since first fight since October 2012. “I got two cuts, on the top and back of my head, from elbows. I have to watch the fight on tape to evaluate it.
"I remember that my knockdown was an off-balance shot and I tried to come back strong in that round to show that. I also thought I knocked Tito (Bracero) down but it was ruled a slip."
Both fighters, beaten only once previously each, were cut in a clash which had the sell-out crowd on the edge of their seats.
But Bracero, who had secured only four of his 23 victories inside the distance, shocked Salita with his unexpected punching power.
Salita said: "I am going to look at the fight, take some time off to be with friends and family and see where we go from here."