LONDON — American Jewish boxer Dmitriy Salita lost his World Boxing Association light-welterweight championship bout to Muslim champion Amir Khan in the first round of the title fight on December 5.
Billed as the clash of cultures, Ukrainian-born Salita, 27, came in as the underdog despite being undefeated in 31 professional fights and the No. 1 contender for the crown.
Salita, an Orthodox Jew who studies at a Chabad yeshiva in Brooklyn, had boasted that he would kick Khan’s “butt”, but was knocked down 10 seconds into the fight by Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani descent.
Salita was sent to the canvas again in the first round before referee Luis Pabon of Puerto Rico stopped the fight in Newcastle, England, after 76 seconds.
Salita’s family moved to Brooklyn, New York, from the Ukraine due to escalating violence against Jews, where he became Orthodox.
The 27-year-old, who sported a Star of David on his trunks, does not fight on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.