Stockton youth boxer ranked best in country | News
STOCKTON, CA - A middle school student from Stockton is currently the number one ranked boxer for his age in the country with his win at the Silver Gloves National Championships in Independence, MO on February 5.
"You have to be smart in the ring. You can't just throw punches. If you throw, you'll get caught."
Eleven year-old Gabriel Flores Jr. speaks like an old pro, and in a way, he is - he first got into the ring at seven years-old when he went down to an LA gym to see his older brother box.
"He gloved up and he was really good," said his father, Gabriel Flores Sr.
Flores Jr. won the first tournament he ever entered at eight years-old and has not stopped winning. Now as a national champion, he said his next move is to go up a weight class to compete in the Golden Gloves tournament.
"It feels like I'm on top of the world. I trained hard for this. I was prepared for this. I'm prepared for anything."
His father plays a big part in that preparation, working as his coach and mentor, even though he is not a boxer himself. They've converted their garage into a full practice gym and train six days a week for two hour sessions to prepare for matches.
"At the finals I was nervous. the kid we fought we saw him compete in the semifinals and he dropped the kid twice." Said Flores Sr.
Flores Jr was able to study his opponent and ended up winning all three rounds unscathed. In fact, Flores Jr. has never been hurt in the ring.
"I've been hit with punches. Everybody's been hit with some punches. But I've never been seriously damaged," said Flores Jr.
Defense is the number one aspect of Flores Jr.'s training. His favorite move is to counter. His strategy in the sport, however, is to make boxing a career.
"I think boxing is going to take me all the way. I love the sport. I admire the sport. I walk to school thinking about it sometimes. I have dreams about this."