- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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New York junior welterweight Dmitriy Salita has been tucked away in his training camp in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains preparing for a Nov. 8 title shot against Ukraine's Andreas Kotelnik.
However, that opportunity has been derailed because Kotelnik (30-2-1, 13 KOs) has withdrawn from the fight, claiming he suffered a rib injury during his first title defense against Japan's Norio Kimura on Sept. 13.
Kotelnik-Salita was supposed to serve as the co-featured bout on the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. HBO PPV card from Madison Square Garden.
Salita will still appear on the card, but against a replacement opponent and, obviously, not in a world title bout.
"Unfortunately, the fight is off," Square Ring promoter John Wirt told ESPN.com. "Apparently, he injured his rib and he is not going to heal quickly enough to engage in the fight at the Garden. We hope to do the fight later on. We're moving ahead with Salita facing somebody else. It's a huge disappointment. I really wanted to make this fight for Dmitriy."
Wirt said one possible opponent for Salita (28-0-1, 16 KOs), who is originally from Ukraine, is England's Willie Limond (29-2, 8 KOs), a career lightweight who was knocked out by Amir Khan in the eighth round last year.
Salita was disappointed by the news.
"Before his [Sept. 13] fight in the Ukraine, Square Ring and [Kotelnik promoter] Universum came to an agreement and after his fight I was told that they are just going over details," Salita wrote in an email to ESPN.com. "Square Ring has tried really hard to make it and I agreed to what was necessary of me to get this opportunity. Yesterday, I was told that he hurt his rib in his title defense. I am disappointed and am puzzled by why it took him so long after the fight to say that. If he did suffer an injury then I hope that I can fight him once he is healed. We had our back and forth in the Russian and Ukrainian press for a long while now. I think he got some leeriness in his heart."
15hMarc Stein and Ramona Shelburne