Friends Converge Down the Shore, Vito Mielnicki, Age 17, Has Eyes On Bigger Prizes



Friends Converge Down the Shore, Vito Mielnicki, Age 17,  Has Eyes On Bigger Prizes

UPDATE: They stopped the festivities down by the shore long enough to see boy Vito get ‘er done in Newark, and the teen gave rooters on site and watching on ESPN+ much to adore. A first round stoppage, check out the work done by the 17 year old on Saturday evening, on a Top Rank card:


Harken back now, friends, to back in the day, when you were 17 years old. Please recall what you were up to…what was your day to day back then? Weren't you obsessing over small fry stuff, by and large, and wasn't your hair and complexion and matters of the heart heavy on your mind?

Now pivot over to this fact…Vito Mielnicki Jr just turned 17, and tomorrow (Saturday) night, he will be obsessing with doing his business in Newark, NJ, as the youngest person ever to be licensed to box professionally in New Jersey.

Yeah, the teenager is in a business, now, which chews up full grown men and women, but he sounded not one bit nervous as we talked days before the clash.

I asked why…why do this, now, as a teenager? “I have been doing it since I was seven, having ten years of experience, I've accomplished a good amount in the amateur boxing, I felt that I as ready, and me and my team felt that I was,” said the hitter,  147-22 as an amateur.

Lil Vito was turned on the boxing after watching Floyd Mayweather; his pop took him to a gym, and he didn't adore it at first, but he grew to adore it.

For the record, he was thinking he'd like to go the Olympics route, but they changed the age requirement. In 2020, he'd not be old enough, so they decided on the punch for pay route. You have to be 19 to compete, for the record. No, he didn't want to wait to 2024.

At the Prudential Center, the Shakur Stevenson topped card, put together by Top Rank, Vito will face 2-2 Tamarcus Smith. “My game plan is just get inside, and get him out of there,” the fighter said.

Shakur Stevenson and Vito Mielnicki; both will do their thing July 13 in NJ.

Shakur Stevenson and Vito Mielnicki; both will do their thing July 13 in NJ. Pic of Vito's IG.

More from Vito–he says he seeks to be “great,” and you can see for yourself, if you don't hit NJ, you can screen it on ESPN+.

And I had to ask, his buddies, care-free teens…how does he deal with that, when they ask him to come with them, hang and chill and cavort? Vito said he looks to “hang around with his family…this game is all about sacrifices and everything will pay off eventually.”

Yep, say no to the shore now…get payoff down the line.

And his prediction for Saturday night? “I know I'm gonna get him out of there, I'm hoping early, but if not, I'm ready for anything that comes at me,” he shared.

In two years, he believes he will be “at the pinnacle of the sport at a very young age.” Yes, he doesn't disagree when I tab him as a “future star.”

Today, teens cluster down the shore, soaking in sun, exulting in their freedom and a wide open future. Vito waits to make weight, and then his head hits the pillow, as he ponders his pro debut. Sun and sand are easier targets…but Vito seeks to embrace bigger-picture pleasures and payoffs.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.