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22 JUNE 2018

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Salka Wins in California – PA, That Is

J. R. Jowett reporting from ringside: A small and pretty generic downtown, lots of student apartment rental signs, an historic marker commemorating one of the most horrific crimes in the annals of U.S. labor violence, and a sparkling, modern campus highlight this small town south of Pittsburgh. No one can remember a fight card here. But Ken Musko Promotions and Rod Salka keep the game alive, finding convenient venues like the Convocation Center at University of California – Pennsylvania.


Chuck Bayley made the matches for the May 3, 2013, show. A small crowd of only about 600-700 was dwarfed in the cavernous arena, but the VIP tables were sold, so maybe they made out all right.


In the main eight, Rod Salka, 136 ½, Pitts., 17-2 (3), outboxed willing underdog Osnel Charles, 137, Atlantic City, 9-6-1 (1), in an interesting but comparatively tame contest. Osnel forced the fight but tended to go wide with his punches. With Paul Spadafora in his corner, Salka boxed well within himself, circled away and beat Charles to the punch consistently with straight blows. Rights and one-twos kept the favorite in control. Action became brisker in the late rounds, as many were close and the win might still have been gained. Salka rattled Charles with a crisp right to bring up the crowd late in the sixth. Osnel reacted with a fast start in round seven but Rod came back with a combo and took back the round. Action remained scrappy in the final session, but Salka was still quicker and sharper, winning the unanimous verdict. Dana DePaolo scored 79-73, Alexis Pierce and George Kachulis 78-74. Rick Steigerwald refereed all bouts.


The six was a bizarre affair between warhorse Jason Bergman, 254, Pitts., 20-10-2 (13), and ancient Maurice Harris, 252, Newark, 25-17-2 (11). The tough, rugged, and muscular Bergman comes to fight, but is slow and predictable. The much more skilled and experienced Harris once beat Larry Holmes, were it not for the judges. But for four earnest but slow rounds, the southpaw Bergman was the only one fighting. Harris looked like he was only there for the payday. In the last two, Maurice finally showed his skills, picked up the pace, and turned sharpshooter. He certainly looked the winner in the closing rounds, but it still came as a surprise when Maurice gained a split decision! Pierce had 59-55 Bergman, but the others both scored 58-56 for Harris.


You never know what you’ll get with trialhorse/spoiler Zeferino Albino. This time, Albino, 207, Phila., 4-17-3 (2), put up a passably good fight while losing a unanimous four to Jeremiah Karpency, 223, Adah, PA, 8-0. All the rounds were close and hard fought at medium to close range. The much bigger local southpaw enjoyed the edge while the wily underdog gave him all he wanted. Both chattered trash talk between exchanges. But closing round three with a free-swinging mix-up, Karpency stepped in and brought up a left that bowled over an otherwise unhurt Albino for a knockdown. Zeffie rallied in a fast-paced final round, but Karpency won, 39-36 all cards.


Debuting Dan Karpency, 154 ½, Adah, won a unanimous shutout of Anthony Walls, 153, Akron, 0-3, in a relatively tame four. Walls boxed smoothly but would not commit and didn’t appear to genuinely try. Karpency flurried just enough to win the rounds.


Rarely seen Scott Alfer, 180, Pitts., 2-0, just edged out sly veteran James Denson, 176, Dover, OH, 5-13 (2), by majority decision in a hard-fought but proletarian four.

The compact Denson did enough to make the southpaw look bad, but not enough to win. The much bigger Alfer “made” the contest and outworked Denson at close range. DePaolo scored 38-38, the others 39-37.


In a somewhat amateurish but vigorous battle, Lee Kreisher, 141 ½, Dover, OH, 2-0, scored a mild upset over Eric Palmer, 143 ½, Fairchance, PA, 2-1, by unanimous decision, four. The attacking Palmer outworked Kreisher in the first but was wobbled by a left hook at the bell. In the second, Kreisher took the initiative with punishing shots and a crushing body attack sunk Eric to the canvas. Bloodied, the game Palmer hung grimly for the distance but the underdog continued to outfight him. Pierce scored 40-35, DePaolo had the best card at 39-36, and Kachulis had it 38-37.

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