Welterweight prospect and New Jersey-native Vito Mielnicki Jr. previewed his Christmas Day showdown against Nicholas DeLomba during a press conference Thursday before they meet on Saturday, December 25 headlining FOX PBC Fight Night action and on FOX Deportes from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.
The FOX telecast will begin at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and also feature sensational unbeaten prospect Joey Spencer taking on Mexico’s Limberth Ponce for eight-rounds of middleweight action in the co-main event.
Here is what Mielnicki and his trainer Muhammad Salaam had to say Thursday:
VITO MIELNICKI JR.
“I want to thank my whole team for giving me the opportunity to display my skills on the biggest platform possible. I’m blessed to be back here fighting on Christmas Day in my home state at Prudential Center.
“We’re ready to put on a show for everyone on Christmas. This is going to be a great gift for everyone. We’re going to give you a great night of action.
“This is a dream come true for me. There’s no other way I’d rather spend Christmas. I’m living the dream at 19-years-old. I can’t wait to perform in front of a huge audience on FOX.
“I’m really excited to be able to fight in front of my home fans in the state of New Jersey. This is my toughest opponent to date, and I’m expecting a tough fight. You don’t want to miss this one, because we’re definitely delivering fireworks.”
MUHAMMAD SALAAM, Mielnicki’s Head Trainer
“We put a lot of good work into this camp. A lot of hard work every day to be at our best on fight night.
“This is going to be a great performance on Christmas Day. We put in the work and now we’re going to go out there and do what we do best.”
“Vito Mielnicki Jr. has cultivated a growing and devoted fan base in his native New Jersey and he’ll look to give them all a Christmas Day gift with an electric performance against Nicholas DeLomba in his first headlining appearance on FOX,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Prudential Center will be hosting two of boxing’s brightest young up-and-comers, as Joey Spencer steps in for the co-main event against Limberth Ponce, making this a great night for boxing’s future stars to showcase their skills.”
Representing Roseland, New Jersey, Mielnicki (9-1, 6 KOs) makes his second straight appearance at Prudential Center, as he bounced back from his first career defeat to stop Noah Kidd in Newark in July on FOX. The 19-year-old began turning heads during an exceptional amateur career where he compiled a 147-22 record and was named the Most Outstanding Boxer of the 2011 Junior National Golden Gloves, amongst many accolades before turning pro. Mielnicki was able to add four victories to his ledger in 2020 and he kicked off his 2021 campaign with a knockout of Noe Lopez in February on FOX.
“I want to thank my whole team for giving me this great opportunity to headline Christmas Night at the Prudential Center live on FOX,” said Mielnicki. “I’m excited to showcase my talent as the main event in front of my family, friends and fans in my home state of New Jersey. This is my toughest opponent to date. I expect the best version of Delomba on fight night. Everyone get your tickets and tune in because you don’t want to miss this one. Expect fireworks on Christmas Night!”
DeLomba (16-3, 5 KOs) put together a five-fight winning streak heading into his most recent bout, which saw him drop a decision to super lightweight contender Richardson Hitchins in February 2020. The 31-year-old has fought professionally since 2013, turning pro after losing to Robert Easter Jr. in the 2012 U.S. National Championship quarterfinals. Fighting out of Cranston, Rhode Island, DeLomba won 11 of his first 12 pro fights before a 2017 decision defeat to Jimmy Williams.
“Vito is a good, young fighter and I’m impressed with what he’s done so far, but I have experience on my side,” said DeLomba. “I’ve faced some of the best fighters in the world, and I’ve never backed down from a challenge. This is a great spotlight for me to show what I’m all about. Make no mistake, I’m coming to win.”
The 21-year-old Spencer (12-0, 9 KOs) turned pro in February 2017 and immediately caught the eye of fans and pundits with his combination of speed, power and athleticism. Following an impressive 2020 campaign, the Linden, Michigan native opened 2021 with a first-round TKO over Isiah Seldon in January on FOX. Spencer continued his march toward world title contention with a wide unanimous decision triumph over James Martin in July.
“I’m very excited to give the fans in New Jersey a great show on Christmas Day,” said Spencer. “I’ve been preparing well and am excited to show what I can do against a durable opponent like Ponce. I can’t wait to be back in the ring on FOX to continue displaying everything I’ve been working on.”
Born in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, Ponce (18-4, 11 KOs) fights out of Rock Island, Illinois throughout his pro career that dates back to 2012. The 30-year-old followed up a 2016 defeat to Neeco Macias with seven-straight wins before a 2019 split-decision loss to Thomas Hill. Ponce returned to the ring in June of this year to stop Chris Grays in three rounds.
“I know this will be a tough fight, but I’m going to be prepared for whatever my opponent brings on fight night,” said Ponce. “On December 25, I’m leaving everything in the ring. I want to give the fans a great fight and make my mark with this performance.”
Veteran DeLomba aims to ring Mielnicki’s bell Christmas day on FOX
When asked to headline a major, nationally-televised boxing event on Christmas day, Rhode Island’s Nick DeLomba was hesitant at first, so he consulted with the “boss” of the household, his five-year-old son, Nicolas Jr.
“The first thing I did was ask him, ‘Do you mind if daddy fights on Christmas day? Daddy will get you whatever you want,” DeLomba said. “Now he’s telling everyone, ‘My daddy is fighting on FOX!’ It made me feel so much more comfortable.”
With a reassuring thumbs-up from Junior, the 31-year-old DeLomba (16-3, 5 KOs) heads into the biggest fight of his career this weekend at The Prudential Center in New Jersey, where he faces 19-year-old, up-and-coming welterweight prospect and hometown hero Vito Melniecki Jr. (9-1, 6 KOs) on December 25 in the 10-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions’ Christmas showcase on FOX. The live telecast begins at 8 pm ET and also features an eight-round middleweight showdown between undefeated Joey Spencer and veteran Limberth Ponce. Tickets are available online.
This is a potential life-changing moment for DeLomba, the long-time CES Boxing workhorse and Cranston, RI, native who hopes to lean on his experience and ring savvy against Mielnicki, a raw, but talented, prospect who won four Junior National Golden Gloves championships before turning pro at the age of 17.
Neither fighter enters this bout unblemished. DeLomba, who hasn’t fought since February of 2020, just weeks before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, is coming off a loss to future super lightweight star Richardson Hitchins, just the third loss of his career. Mielnicki, meanwhile, is still rebuilding following a majority-decision in his ninth pro fight against James Martin; he last fought in July, knocking out Noah Kidd in the second round of their scheduled eight-round fight on FOX, arguably his best performance as a pro.
While Mielnicki has fought his entire pro career under the intense spotlight of nationally-televised audiences and will no doubt have homefield advantage on Saturday – he’s a product of nearby West Essex High School in North Caldwell, NJ, and generates a huge crowd in the tri-state area – DeLomba is confident his eight-year career and countless peaks and valleys as a pro will carry him to victory this weekend.
“I will lean on my experience this entire fight,” said DeLomba, who has gone the distance in 13 of his 19 fights. “He’s never fought 10 rounds. He hasn’t fought the level of competition I’ve fought. I’m a grown man. He’s still young.
“I’ve been dropped, defeated – suffered terrible cuts – and I still keep coming. He hasn’t been tested like that, but I’m going to test this kid and see what he’s about.”
Being away from his family during the holiday will be difficult to swallow, but DeLomba views it from a big-picture perspective, knowing a win against a top prospect on Christmas day in front of millions of viewers can take his career to the next level.
“The way my family put it, we do the same thing every year on Christmas. We spend time with family, we eat – this year, why not do something great?” DeLomba said.
Since he turned pro with CES in 2013, DeLomba has always marched to the beat of a different drum. He fought six rounds in his debut, whereas most fighters start out in fours, and beat New England rival Jimmy Smith in absolute war. Within months of his first pro loss, a shocking first-round knockout at the hands of Gledwin Ortiz in 2015, he went right back to the lab and took on then unbeaten Massachusetts native Freddy Sanchez, reclaiming his throne with a unanimous-decision win.
Never one to back down from a challenge, DeLomba has campaigned at both super lightweight and welterweight, enjoying most of his success at 140 pounds. He’s dedicated his life to the sport and now has the opportunity to earn his biggest reward this weekend on one of the most celebrated dates of the year – a true Christmas miracle.
“At the end of the day win, lose, or draw, I love what I do,” DeLomba said. “Every bit of this is rewarding to me. To be the main event on this stage on such an amazing day, it’s surreal. I’m looking forward to this opportunity.”