Ryan Kielczewski landed his first punches at 6 years old, when his father, Rick, brought him to compete in the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day boxing tournament.
Kielczewski said he had been clamoring for a chance to get into the ring since he was a toddler.
“I always wanted to do it when I was 3, 4, and 5 years old,’’ he said. “Finally, at 6 years old they gave me a shot.’’
On Saturday night, the undefeated lightweight (14-0) will get a high-profile shot when he squares off against Washington Hago (5-4) at TD Garden’s “Night at the Fights.”
For all intents and purposes, the 23-year-old Kielczewski, who was raised in Quincy, has three jobs — training, working as a carpenter, and as a merchandiser for Polar Beverages.
He said he gives up carpentry when he is preparing for a fight.
“I work only [at Polar] when I’m getting ready for a fight,’’ he said. “I like doing the carpentry work, I’m learning something to fall back on. I’m actually putting in hardwood floors in my house right now.’’
Despite his other enterprises, Kielczewski said his dream has always been to be a professional boxer.
“That’s pretty much what I’ve wanted to do my whole life,’’ he said. “I remember writing essays back in elementary school and [the teachers] told me, ‘Set your sights on something else.’ ’’
But Kielczewski was undeterred. He turned pro when he was 19 and has been moving up the ranks ever since. He said he doesn’t know a lot about Hago’s style going into their eight-round bout.
“He’s from [Woodside], New York, he’s a little bit older than me. I know he’s going to come to fight,’’ said Kielczewski. “I haven’t really seen anything on him. So, I’ll adapt when I get in there.’’
Kielczewski trains at Cyr-Farrell Boxing Gym in Quincy, and trainer Jimmy Farrell Jr. said his client is ready.
“Ryan Kielczewski is a pride and joy,’’ said Farrell. “The kid has just got instincts. It’s really hard to hit him. He’s had a little [injury] problems with his right hand, so he hasn’t had as many knockouts as he would have had. He’s a nice fighter and when people go see him fight, when they leave they’re talking about him because he looks like the paper boy. He looks like he’s 14. All he does is laugh. He’s one delightful kid to be around. His work ethic is terrific.’’
Farrell said Kielczewski has been determined since he was a youngster, and has been willing to make the sacrifices to realize his dream.
“Boxing is not for everybody, it’s a hard life,’’ said Farrell, a former pro boxer who was once highly ranked in the country. “To me, the pain of boxing is the fatigue. Getting hit isn’t very pleasant, either.’’
As much as Kielczewski has enjoyed fighting in venues such as The House of Blues, Saturday night at the Garden will be special.
“I fought at the MGM Grand [at Foxwoods] a couple of times,’’ he said. “The Garden is probably the biggest place I’m going to be fighting in my career. I’ve never really been a big sports [fan] but I’ve been to a few Bruins games and a few Celtics games.’’
He said he expects those in attendance to be passionate.
“It’s going to be crazy,’’ said Kielczewski. “The place is going to be packed and they’re all going to be screaming my name, especially because I’m fighting someone from New York. The crowd is going to be insane there. Everyone gets riled up for the fights.’’
As much as his trainer is a walking boxing encyclopedia, Kielczewski said he hasn’t yet explored the history of the sport. Instead, he approaches it with a singular determination.
“I’m pretty much go to the gym, work, and sleep,’’ he said. “That’s all I do. I don’t really watch fights. I don’t really do anything besides fight and work. That’s pretty much my life. I’ve got no life other than that. I don’t have downtime to study up. I wish I could, but I work too much.’’
He said he envisions staying a pro fighter until he’s about 30.
“My father is my manager and I’ve been with Jimmy my whole career,’’ Kielczewski said. “Once they say, ‘Enough’s enough,’ I’m sure I’ll listen to them.’’
. . .
The Night at the Fights headliner is light welterweight Danny O’Connor from Framingham, who will face Derek Silveira from Salem. In the middleweight division, Boston police officer Billy Traft from Dorchester will take on Joe Powers of Groton, Conn. A second middleweight bout features Russell Lamour of Portland, Maine, against Luis Viramontes of Brockton.
In addition, there will be five USA Boxing amateur bouts. In the open lightweight junior division (132 pounds), Luca Lo Conte Botis of Winchester will face Marc Anthony Muniz of Dorchester. In the open lightweight senior division (132), Tim Ramos of Framingham will go against Elijah Peioxto of Providence. In the open light welterweight senior division (141), Brandon Berry of West Forks, Maine, will face Julio Perez of Hudson. In the open welterweight senior division (152), Ryan White of Norwood will take on Joe Meuse of Millis. And in the open middleweight senior division (165), Gerald Schifone of Brockton will square off against Khiry-Gray Pitts from Worcester.Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.