New York, NY (7/23/13) - With DiBella Entertainment stable-mate Edwin Rodriguez yelling from ringside to "Make your statement!", Ryan "The Polish Prince" Kielczweski (17-0) did just that this past Friday in his national TV debut on ESPN's Friday Night Fights. Kielczweski, of Quincy, Mass., scored a sensational one-punch KO over the previously undefeated Puerto Rican knockout artist Miguel Soto (now 11-1, 11KO's) in the fifth round of their scheduled eight-round super featherweight contest at Rockingham Park in DBE Salem, NH. The knockout was so spectacular that it was voted as the fifth best play of the day on that evening's ESPN Top 10.
Kielczweski's highlight-reel knockout came just six days after Worcester's Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez (24-0, 16KO's) demolished Denis Grachev inside the opening round of the finale to the coveted Monte-Carlo Million Dollar Super 4 tournament in Monaco.
Both performances were eye-catching and spectacular.
Both performances were easily the most important and impressive of their respective careers.
Both performances have the boxing world still talking and fans excited about the future possibilities.
"It has been exactly 10 days since my fight and I am still ecstatic," said Rodriguez. "The fan and media response that I have received since I returned home has been overwhelming. I spent the day at the ESPN studios last week and was a special guest for Friday Night Fights. It was great being there to see Ryan put on such a terrific performance. Not only is he a stable-mate of mine at DBE, but I also consider him a friend. To see him perform the way he did in his biggest fight and first national TV exposure was just great. I remember being in that same position not so long ago."
"It was the absolute best way I could ever imagine to celebrate a birthday," said Kielczweski, who was celebrating his 24th birthday this past Friday. "Having Edwin at the fight and hearing him cheer me on was really something special. Edwin is an inspiration to not only me but to everyone coming up out of the New England area right now. Fighting on his undercards and seeing the success he has had makes me want to work that much harder so I can get to that level."
Boxing has been a way of life for the two Massachusetts-natives for many years. Both the 28-year-old Rodriguez, who began boxing at 16, and 24-year-old Kielczweski, who first took up the sport at the ripe old age of six, had stellar amateur careers fighting throughout the New England region. Both fighters claimed the New England Golden Gloves championship, with Rodriguez also winning the 2005 US Amateur Championship and the 2006 National Golden Gloves.
Both Rodriguez and Kielczweski turned pro in 2008. Kielczweski has fought exclusively under the DBE banner, having been brought to DiBella's attention by Sampson Lewkowicz, who also discovered middleweight kingpin Sergio Martinez, as well as Manny Pacquiao. Rodriguez signed up with DiBella a year later in 2009.
The two have been featured together on five cards thus far, including when Rodriguez headlined the HBO Boxing After Dark event on September 29, 2012, at Foxwoods, as well as his October 21, 2011, ShoBox: The New Generation headliner, also at Foxwoods. In addition to his two appearances on HBO and three on Showtime, Rodriguez has also been featured twice on ESPN. Kielczweski hopes that he will be able to follow in that same path as he makes the transition from up-and-coming prospect to legitimate world championship contender.
With his victory over Grachev, Rodriguez is in line for a title shot and has expressed interest in facing any and all of the champions in the 168lb. division. The WBC #3, WBA #3, IBF #3, WBO #5 and ESPN.com #8-rated super middleweight Rodriguez will be coming to New York within the next week or two to further discuss his next move with DiBella.
"I want a world championship. This is what I have been dreaming about since I first started boxing. All of the hard work and grueling hours in the gym and time away from my family; these are the sacrifices that I have had to make to get to this point, to challenge for and to win a world championship," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez continued, "I'm rated in the top five in all four major sanctioning bodies and I feel that I match up well with any of the champions in the 168lb. division. Whether it is Froch, Stieglitz, Bika or Ward, I am ready. Everyone knows that Ward is the top guy and there has been talk about that fight. I am coming to New York in the next week or two and meeting with Lou to discuss what he thinks is the best move for us. Whatever he decides though, I know that my team (head trainer Ronnie Shields, strength and conditioning coaches Danny Arnold/Matt Bartula and nutritional and conditioning advisor Victor Conte), will come up with a great game plan and have me in the best possible shape to get me into position to take home that belt. New England fight fans are some of the greatest in the entire world, and I am ready to be their next champion."
While Kielczweski is still a bit away from that level, he does feel that his performance was an eye-opener and that he is ready to prove himself against any of the other so-called top super featherweights in the world.
"There were discussions earlier this year of me facing Jose Pedraza. I loved that fight when they first brought it to my attention, and I still do. He has been called a blue-chip prospect, and the next champion to come out of Puerto Rico. A win over him will put me right where I want to be in my career."
NEW ENGLAND STRONG
In addition to Rodriguez and Kielczweski, the New York-based promoter DiBella has a number of New England fighters under his DBE banner, including junior welterweight contender Danny O'Connor (21-1), of Framingham, Mass., and New Haven, Connecticut's exciting undefeated super bantamweight Luis Rosa (14-0). O'Connor is managed by Ken Casey, leader singer of the Dropkick Murphys, and has developed a cult-like following of fans that continues to grow with each outing. Both O'Connor and Rosa picked up victories on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin's middleweight title defense over Matthew Macklin on HBO last month at Foxwoods.