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February 28, 2017

By G. Leon

GL: Your Shobox quadruple header from the MGM Grand in Detroit is right around the corner. Can you give us some thoughts on the card? On March 10 boxing fans can look forward to a great night of boxing, in Detroit, one of America's greatest fight cities. I'm thrilled to be promoting the first boxing show at the MGM Grand in Detroit and to have Claressa Shields a two time gold medalist in the main event. This is the first time a woman's fight has headlined a show on a premium television network. It's going to be a great night of boxing and I'm proud to be presenting it. Our co-main event is a fight for the NABO title between Nikolay Potpov and Antonio Nieves. Both of these guys are bantamweight contenders with an amateur pedigree and I think that's going to be a great fight. We also have Ed Willias from Detroit fighting Wesley Tucker from Toledo, Ohio and they're both talented welterweights and the winner of that fight is going to be on their way to becoming a welterweight contender. Then we have James Gordon Smith who is a highly touted prospect from Detroit fighting Joshua Greer from Chicago, so it's going to be a great telecast from top to bottom. On the undercard we have Jarico O'Quinn who is a very talented bantamweight, he was rated #1 in the US as an 18 year old. He's won US championships and other major tournaments and he's a very talented guy. We've also got Bakhtiyar Eyubov back in action, he's had some hand problems following his win over Karim Mayfield, but now he's coming back we're looking forward to big things from him. 

GL: I spoke with Jarico the other guy and he told me he's going to be fighting a guy that's 14-4. He considers it a step up and he plans to impress the Showtime executives in attendance, but he couldn't pronounce his opponents name. Can you tell us who he'll be fighting?

Dmitriy Salita: "Yes he'll be fighting Szilvester Kanalas. This is his sixth fight and he's fighting somebody considerably more experienced than he is as a professional, but he's ready to progress at a quicker level because of his extensive amateur career. The way he's been looking is so impressive, I'm confident going to into this fight and I'm very excited about him moving forward."

GL: I imagine your expectation is for the winner of Nieves-Potapov to be in immediate title contention.

DS: "Yes. I would love for the winner to fight any of the champions. Zhanat Zhakiyanov who just beat Rau'Shee Warren has established himself as a new champion, so now he's in the mix, but yes I truly believe the winner of this fight should be in line for a title fight. I think the bantamweight division is very strong and I think the winner of this fight is going to create another top level fighter at 118 pounds."

GL: What's your expectation for James Gordon Smith?

DS: "He has looked impressive in his last several fights. He's been staying busy, he's had a good training camp and he's been sparring with top guys and I'm expecting him to do very well."

GL: James always talks about how he feels like a new fighter now that he's back with his old trainer. Have you seen the difference in him?

DS: "I see that he's looking better in each fight. He's focused and always in the game and he's a very exciting fighter. He could punch, he's physically strong and he could mix it up. Bantamweight isn't always the most exciting division, but all of the bantamweights on this show will be in exciting fights that will make them bigger names in the boxing community moving forward. James is one of the better fighters from Detroit. He likes to mix it up an he doesn't mind getting hit, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he does when the really bright lights are on and I think he's going to do really well."

GL: How are ticket sales going?

DS: "Ticket sales have been going really well. Claressa is from nearby in Flint and she hasn't fought close to home in a long time and Detroit is really like her hometown since it's the biggest city close by. James Gordon Smith and Ed Williams are from Detroit, so is Jarico, Wesley is from Toledo, Ohio which is a 30 minute drive. A lot of the fighters on this card are local and have fought on my Detroit Brawl shows several times to get to this point, so they have their own core followings. It's going to be a tremendous turnout and the way it's going now I'm expecting the show to sell out. Detroit has produced some of the greatest fighters of our time, Tommy Hearns, Floyd Mayweather, Joe Louis, Emanuel Steward and now Claressa Shields, the only two time gold medalist out of the United States. I've seen her train several times and she's really a tremendous talent and an equally hard worker."

GL: What shows do you have lined up beyond March 10?

DS: "We're looking forward to another installment of the Detroit Brawl series in April or May, we should have an announcement coming soon. There's some great talent being developed on this series and I couldn't be prouder."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

DS: "I want to thank Boxingtalk for continuing to do a great job of covering my fighters. I appreciate it and I know they do as well, I look forward to reading all the content every day, I'm very happy you're back to work. I want all the fans to tune in because it really is going to be a great night of fights on March 10."

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