West Essex High School
Student Makes NJ
by Jim Dombrowski
(exclusive to the Post Eagle)
Photo Caption: Top Rank’s Accountant Pauilta hands Vito Mielnicki his first boxing paycheck.
Vito Mielnicki of Roseland, NJ made New Jersey boxing history recently when the West Essex High School Junior made his professional boxing debut against Tamarcus Smith (24 years old, 2-2: 2 KO) at the Prudential Center in Newark. Fighting on the undercard of the Shakur Stevenson Card was a dream come true as both fighters trained at the same gym in Newark. They trained as amateurs with Shakur Stevenson, a featherweight, going on to win a Silver Medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Roseland native has a big following and was able to sell over a thousand tickets.
Mielnicki is a proud Pole and Italian whose dad is also of Polish and Italian heritage. Son Vito and dad Vito were ecstatic with the first round knockout in his professional debut. Dad was an outstanding Nutley High School Football and Wrestling Athlete. He tried to box but found promoting was a better fit. Vito’s father, Mielnicki Sr. is CEO of GH3 Promotions
Vito started to box at the age of seven, and his dedication to boxing from day one has seen much sacrifice. The soon to be High School Senior has not competed in any high school sports; a choice the young lad made to fully concentrate on Boxing. Vito who is only 17 and boxing for the first time without headgear quickly pointed out that during his amateur career he fought older opponents and has trained with older boxers
Vito had aspirations for winning a Gold Medal. He amassed a terrific 147-22 amateur record but after a controversial loss in Spain, Vito had a choice to make about his desire to be an Olympian or begin his professional career. The choice to begin his professional boxing career was made possible when his dad approached Carl Moretti of Top Rank who together with The Rock we’re bringing boxing back to Newark. When given the chance Vito jumped at the opportunity to be on the Top Rank Card which needed the blessing of Larry Hazzard, Commissioner of the NJ Athletic Control Board which oversees Boxing in NJ. Hazzard has been involved with NJ Boxing for over 40 years and has the pulse on all levels of boxing in New Jersey.
Mielnicki nicknamed “White Magic” made all Poles proud with his KO at 1:16 of Round 1 of a 4 Round Match. Referee Shada Murdaugh immediately ended the fight as Smith fell to the canvas and lied motionless. The large crowd which filled most of the lower bowl of The Rock and all the floor seats gasped at the power of the 5’ 11”, 145 pound Welterweight. Vito quickly jumped on top of the ropes as the crowd cheered. The fight was streamed live on ESPN Plus with NBC’s Bruce Beck doing the Play by Play at Ringside. The powerful knockout earned the number seven spot on ESPN Sports Center.
In photo: Vito Mielnicki moves in for the KO!
It be an understatement to say West Essex is the last place you would expect to find a high schooler becoming a professional boxer, so it’s just as satisfying to defy the stereotypes that boxing might conjure up.
The Roseland native is a popular student at West Essex Regional High School. He is looking forward to his senior year and graduating in June of 2020. Vito hopes to fight three times as a High School Senior. Let’s hope he can bring to Roseland and New Jersey a World Title.
West Essex’s Principal Caesar Diliberto was quick to point out that when watching the match on tape and seeing the power of the punches delivered by Vito, he wanted to let everyone know that his student’s behavior in school couldn’t be more polite and friendly. It’s quite the contrast noted Diliberto. “Vito’s a great student and I wish him well in his professional boxing career,” voiced Diliberto.
Photo by Jim Dombrowski: North Arlington, New Jersey’s Carl Moretti paces in the ring during the Outstanding Evening of Boxing at The Rock. Carl of Top Rank helped put together several New Jersey Boxers on the undercard of the Shakur Stevenson Main Event. Stevenson is a Newark native himself. Top Rank is the leading Boxing Promoter in America and Carl a seasoned matchmaker understands that local boxers are important to a successful evening of boxing at any venue that Top Rank is promoting. The crowd likes to see local boxers on the undercard.
School Superintendent Damion Macioci explained, “ He is (Vito) a hard worker and I’m happy to see him achieving his goals. Balancing sports and academics is extremely challenging so I commend Vito on what he has accomplished.”
The return of boxing to The Rock in July was made possible by Top Rank’s Bob Arum and the hard work of North Arlington’s Carl Moretti who is a high level executive and seasoned matchmaker with Top Rank.