New York, NY / St. Charles, MO - When Ryan Kielczweski steps into the ring on Friday night, the highly regarded undefeated prospect will be entering familiar territory. For Kielczweski (19-0, 4KO's), the WBA #11-rated junior lightweight in the world, who will be taking on the once-beaten Ramsey Luna (12-1, 4KO's) in the eight-round super featherweight co-feature, he will be returning to platform on which he scored his most impressive victory to date just a little under one year ago.
On a hot and muggy night in New Hampshire last July, the talented Kielczweski took on DBE Puerto Rican knockout artist Miguel Soto (11-0, 11KO's) in that evening's ESPN Friday Night Fights' eight-round co-feature. It was huge step-up and the first national TV exposure for the former amateur standout hailing from nearby Quincy, Mass., who happened to be celebrating his 24th birthday that night. Fighting in front of a strong contingent of hometown fans that had made the short trip over to Salem, NH, Kielczweski scored the victory in impressive and absolutely devastating fashion.
Kielczweski got off to a blistering start, throwing quick and hard combinations to both the body and head of the hard-charging and heavy-handed Puerto Rican. Round after round, Kielczweski continuously tagged Soto with hard shots, but to his credit, Soto kept coming forward. By the fourth round, Soto's right eye had become grotesquely swollen and Kielczweski's punch output kicked into another gear.
In the fifth round, just before the bell sounded to end the frame, Kielczweski landed as perfect a counter left hook as you will ever see, dropping Soto face-first on the canvas, out cold. The knockout was so devastating that it was chosen as that day's #5 play on ESPN's "Top-10 Plays of the Day". Kielczweski had officially put his name on the map and clearly cemented himself as one of the top up-and-coming 130lb. fighters in the world.
Fast forward one year and two additional victories later, and Kielczweski, known as the "Polish Prince", is looking for yet another stellar performance as he continues to climb the ranks of the 130lb. division when he takes on the dangerous Luna.
"Everything has been great with this camp and I am just really looking forward to getting in there and doing my thing on Friday night," said Kielczweski. "The win last year definitely had a huge impact on my career and my life. People from all over the country got to finally see who I was and what I am capable of doing."
With regard to fighting on ESPN once again, Kielczweski couldn't be happier.
"It is an honor to be on ESPN again. It is every fighter's dream to fight on live TV, and I am blessed to have these opportunities. I am looking to put on another impressive show Friday night and hopefully that will open the door to some even bigger and better opportunities in the near future."
Luna's most impressive showing to date actually came in a loss to the highly regarded undefeated prospect Toka Kahn Clary (12-0, 8KO's) in December of last year. Clary won a decision that night, but was dropped and hurt badly twice in the bout. Like Kielczweski, Clary is from the New England area, and the two undefeated prospects have worked together for years. While winning is ultimately the most important thing for Kielczweski on Friday night, he would like to one-up Clary's performance.
"Of course I want to win more impressively than he did. From what I hear, Toka got away from his game plan and got caught. That happens in boxing. I am expecting Luna to come forward and throw a lot of punches and get wild at times. My plan is to outbox him, get him frustrated and look to catch him in between his wide shots. I just need to stay disciplined and stick to my game plan. I am in tiptop shape both mentally and physically. There is no doubt in my mind that my hands will be raised at the end of the night."
While the 24-year-old isn't looking to rush his career by any means, he does feel that his time is coming soon.
"I am ranked #11 in the WBA right now and I do feel that I am one of the best young 130lb. fighters in the sport. I would like to get a few 10-rounders under my belt first, but I feel that I will be ready to fight for a world title in 2015. I see myself in the mix with the other top 130-pounders in the world by this time next year, but first I must take care of business on Friday night."
The ESPN Friday Night Fights/ESPN Deportes' Noce de Combates card is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Rumble Time Promotions, in association with Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing, and is headlined by Ivan Redkach (16-0, 13KO's) taking on Sergey Gulyakevich (41-2, 17KO's) in the 10-round feature bout of the evening.
ESPN will begin live coverage at 9p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN.
Tickets are currently on sale and are priced at $80 for ringside and $40 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1(800) 293-5949 or by visiting www.metrotix.com. Doors open at 5 p.m. CT with the first bout scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.