World Fighting Championships returns to Meadows Racetrack & Casino on Saturday, August 27, with a nine-bout card headlined by “Lightning” Rod Salka (22-4, 4KO) in a eight-round banger versus Arizona’s Wilberth Lopez (15-5, 10KO).
Rod Salka is a busy man. Having fought only three times since his most notable fight versus Danny Garcia in 2014, he has kept busy outside of the ring. “I sat around and waited for a call after the Garcia fight, but the right call never came,” said Salka. Not one to sit idle, he focused his energy elsewhere, opening his own 16,500 square foot gym in Pittsburgh, and founding a new workout called Crossfight.
In the meantime, at his “day job,” he was promoted to Regional Sales Manager. If that weren’t enough, come November 8th, if Salka has his way, the “Lightening” will be replaced with “State Representative,” as Salka has embarked on a campaign to become Pennsylvania House District 38 Representative in the state legislature. “People told me to avoid politics. I can honestly say it’s easier than navigating boxing politics, and trying to guide your own boxing career.”
While it hasn’t been easy, Salka has set his sights on preparing to be the best boxer in the ring on August 27th. “I am at the gym every morning and evening, and get my training in then,” said the dedicated pugilist. ”I want to position myself to be able to get a big fight again in the future.”
Salka is not taking the easy route to get there. Wilberth Lopez, who hails from Tucson, Arizona, is on a 10-fight win streak and has no intention of breaking that streak in Pennsylvania next weekend. The tall and rangy southpaw has an awkward style that frustrates his opponents, and he’s faced stiff competition throughout his career.
17-year old prodigy Devin “The Dream” Haney (8-0, 8KO) will also be in action at The Meadows next Saturday, in a six round bout versus Tucson’s Carlos Castillo (4-3, 3KO). Haney has been on the fast track since his debut last December, racking up eight wins in the US and Mexico.
This is World Fighting Championships’ third card at the Meadows Casino, and its sixth boxing event in 2016, with at least two more planned before the end of the year. The crossover promotion caters to casinos, delivering packed venues for boxing and MMA shows in Nevada, Louisiana and now Pennsylvania. “Our growth in 2016 has been incredible,” said promoter Matt McGovern. “Between boxing and MMA, we will end the year having put on 17 events, with at least 10 more already on the books for the first part of next year.”
McGovern’s success can at least in part be attributed to his use of technology to streamline the planning and execution of his events. “We have a small staff, but we’ve got the formula down and can deliver high-quality, exciting boxing to our casino clients and boxing fans without a ton of stress. We are in the midst of putting on five shows in six weeks, and we can do that because have an exceptional staff, and we’ve done it now 56 times before.” The young promoter continues to raise his and WFC’s profiles with the addition of new casinos and cities. The coming year will see WFC events from coast to coast, in nine additional cities across the country.
Tickets for WFC 57 are priced at $100, $50, and $25, and are available along with VIP tables via the WFC website at www.worldfightingchampionships.com.
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. on fight night. First bell is at 7:00 p.m.