SALITA, DMITRIY ("Star Of David," "The Kosher Knockout"; 1982– ), U.S. boxer, NABA junior welterweight champion. Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Dmitriy moved with his family to Brooklyn at the age of nine. He originally started out with karate, but his older brother Michael introduced him to boxing, and he started boxing at 13 at the Starrett City Boxing Club. When his mother, Lyudmila, was diagnosed with breast cancer and then died when Salita was a teenager, he underwent a religious transformation with the help of a Lubavitch rabbi who comforted him through his ordeal. As a result, Salita is a strictly observant Jew who keeps kosher, will not fight on the Sabbath or holidays, and studies daily with a rabbi. He won the 2000 U.S. National Under-19 amateur championship, and on April 5, 2001, won the New York Golden Gloves championship, earning the Sugar Ray Robinson Award as the outstanding boxer in the tournament. He won his first professional fight on June 24, 2001, and claimed the NABA junior welterweight championship August 26, 2005. "He looks Russian, prays Jewish, fights black" said his trainer, Jimmy O'Pharrow. At the end of 2005, Salita was 24–0, with 14 KOs.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.