Flores, Kielczweski seek breakout performance in clash of title hopefuls

With Miguel Flores and Ryan Kielczweski both looking to continue moving forward in the 126-pound division, the boxers are embracing the chance to unveil new dimensions of their respective repertoires in order to do so.

Miguel Flores and Ryan Kielczweski

Rising 126-pound contenders Miguel Flores and Ryan Kielczweski bring a combined record of 45-1 into their 10-round bout Friday night in Verona, New York. (Brett Carlsen/Premier Boxing Champions)

“It’s two young contenders on the way up with great records who are willing to put them on the line in order to move up to the next level,” said Flores’ longtime trainer, Aaron Navarro. “Ryan has great boxing skills, but so does Miguel, so we’re definitely gonna see a great matchup.”

Miguel Flores (20-0, 9 KOs) takes on Ryan Kielczweski (25-1, 7 KOs) in a 10-round main event Friday night at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

In the co-main event, rising 147-pound contender Jamal James (20-0, 9 KOs) matches up against Cuban 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas (15-3, 7 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

James, a 28-year-old Minnesota native, was named Wednesday to replace unbeaten southpaw Bryant Perrella, who was forced to withdraw with a left thumb injury. It is a quick turnaround for James, who won a physical 10-round split decision over Wale Omotoso on July 16.

Flores, 24, has shown his versatility already this year in winning a pair of 10-round unanimous decisions. The Mexico-born Houston resident, who weighed in Thursday at 127 pounds, dominated Mario Briones in a slugfest in January before outboxing southpaw Ruben Tamayo in May.

“Miguel can fight on the outside and go toe-to-toe when he wants to, and he showed both of those attributes in his last two fights,” said Navarro, who trains Flores along with assistant Bobby Benton and conditioning coach Edward Jackson.

“With Miguel being a proud Mexican fighter, our body punching will definitely be used to cut off the ring if we have to.”

Kielczweski, who weighed in at 127¼ pounds, is seeking his fourth straight victory since his lone loss to Danny Aquino by eight-round split decision in April 2015. The 27-year-old native of Quincy, Massachusetts, earned a shutout eight-round unanimous decision over former 118-pound title challenger Mario Macias Rorozco in his last bout in April.

“Flores is technically sound, but I like my guy in this fight,” said Kielczweski’s trainer, Hector Bermudez. “Ryan is ready, but he’s gotta bite down and show balls and heart.

“We expect Flores to be at his best and to be in really good shape, and Ryan has to have an answer for that.”

Kielczweski looked to his 10-round unanimous decision over Rafael Vazquez, who entered their October bout at 16-1 with 13 KOs, as an example of his continued improvement in the ring.

“The Rafael Vazquez fight was probably my best performance against the best guy I’ve fought,” Kielczweski said. “I had two cuts in my left eye in that fight that required stitches. I’m getting better, stronger and smarter in every fight.

“I can fight toe-to-toe, but Flores hasn't seen anybody like me. I’ve only seen him against guys who are flat-footed, stand right in front of him and get hit. Will he get frustrated by good jabs and movement and throw wild punches?”

Kielczweski said he plans to put more emphasis on power than he has in previous fights to aggressively counter his opponent, while Flores stated that he intends to use his boxing prowess to attack the body of “The Polish Prince.”

“My hook to the body's my signature punch, but whether we brawl or it's stick-and-move, we can walk him down,” Flores said. “I’m going in to break him down and get the knockout, but I’m glad he thinks I can’t box, because I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve."

For a more extensive look at Flores vs Kielczweski, visit our fight page.

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