NEWARK, NJ -- Vito Mielnicki Jr., a Roseland resident and rising senior at West Essex High School, scored a first-round knockout in his professional boxing debut last weekend.

Mielnicki knocked out Tamarcus Smith in a welterweight match at the Prudential Center in Newark on Saturday, July 13. Mielnicki is the the first New Jersey boxer ever to turn pro at the age of 17 (see story here).

In Saturday's match, he battered Smith with a a three-punch combination that concluded with a powerful right that sent Smith against the ropes and then to the canvas.

Sign Up for West Essex Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Mielnicki had a large group of family and friends from Essex County cheering him on in the arena in a match that was an undercard to the main event, a 10-round featherweight match between Newark native Shakur Stevenson, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, and former world title challenger Franklin Manzanilla.

“It was exactly how I envisioned it. With the crowd and everything, it made it a lot more electric,” Mielnicki told “I worked for this my whole life, and I knew everything was going to payoff tonight.”