Jake Guiriceo, left, shown in action against James Hope in a fight on October 17, 2009, is in limbo for Saturday’s scheduled fight in Campbell. His scheduled opponent has pulled out.
By John Bassetti
The show will go on.
With the possibility of contraction of hepatitis B virus, the opponent for Jake Giuriceo for Saturday night’s fight in Campbell will be switched.
Rod Salka of Pittsburgh was scheduled to be Giuriceo’s opponent in their light welterweight encounter at St. Lucy’s Banquet Center, but Salka (12-1) has been scratched due to medical concerns for the fighters and as a general precaution for all.
“Tests show it’s inconclusive,” matchmaker Tom Cordell said of preliminary results for hepatitis that raised concerns for both Salka and the promoters of the pro fight card that includes several other bouts beginning at 7 p.m.
“It might be the B virus or C, but he’s going to a specialist,” Cordell said of Salka’s visit to an infectious disease doctor on Tuesday.
“It’s unfortunate because he don’t drink and he don’t smoke,” said Cordell. “He does nothing but train.”
Cordell noted that Salka’s family doctor faxed medical forms to Ohio Athletic Commissioner Bernie Profato to make the official aware of the situation and for propriety’s sake.
“It’s just to make sure everything’s on the up-and-up,” the matchmaker said of the correspondence.
“He [Salka] wanted to take more advanced tests,” Cordell said of the fighter’s own physical well-being.
The issue first surfaced Monday.
“The [family] doctor said it showed a trace of hepatitis C which could be an antibody in the blood and it could be gone by [today],” Cordell said. “But he’s going to see an infectious disease doctor because he’s [Salka] concerned.”
Cordell said it caught everybody off guard.
“It’s like a major low blow,” Cordell said, using a boxing simile. “If it was an undercard bout, it would have been scratched. But it’s the main event and it’s a hometown kid.”
In his last fight — his only loss — Salka was reported to have received 14 stitches from a head butt from Gullermo Sanchez during a bout in Erie, Pa. Salka lost the eight-rounder via unanimous decision.
Cordell said that he gave Giuriceo’s manager, Joe Corvina, the names of three possible replacement fighters for Saturday.
“I ran them by Joe and he’ll determine which one and Bernie will work with us,” Cordell said. “We didn’t want to take Jake off the card, yet we want to get a quality opponent. Bernie ain’t going to let you bring in any Joe Palooka.”
At today’s press conference at Dona Vito’s in Struthers, the matchmaker is hopeful that a pending opponent will be definitive.
“We should have one by the end of [today],” Cordell said. “We’ve got a couple different avenues we’re going to travel.”
Giuriceo (10-0-1, 3 KOs) last fought on Feb. 19 at the Youngstown Byzantine Center against Angel Hernandez.
Because Cordell believes that there’s a good possibility that the more extensive tests will come back negative, the matchmaker asked Salka to think about being on an Aug. 13 show at Cene Park.
Cordell said Salka’s absence will hurt because the Bunola, Pa., native was expected to bring close to 100 fans.