Teenage boxer pounds competition

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LITTLE ROCKY: Gabriel Flores Jr. takes in a sparring session with his father, Gabriel Sr., at Los Gallos gym where the teen is preparing for a January tournament. PHOTO BY ZACHARIAH MERCES-SPINDLER

As the old saying goes, there’s always a diamond in the rough, and Stockton has found it’s diamond in the boxing world. At Los Gallos Boxing Academy on North Broadway in Stockton, 15-year old Gabriel Flores Jr. is shining bright.

The young boxer has won nine national titles already.

LITTLE ROCKY: Gabriel Flores Jr. takes in a sparring session with his father, Gabriel Sr., at Los Gallos gym where the teen is preparing for a January tournament. PHOTO BY ZACHARIAH MERCES-SPINDLER
LITTLE ROCKY: Gabriel Flores Jr. takes in a sparring session with his father, Gabriel Sr., at Los Gallos gym where
the teen is preparing for a January tournament. PHOTO BY ZACHARIAH MERCES-SPINDLER

At 14, he won the featherweight division title at the junior nationals in Reno.

The victory earned him a number one ranking in the country and a spot on Team USA.

“Boxing is just my life period, I was born into boxing,” said Flores Jr.

Gabriel Flores Sr., the teenager’s father and trainer shares the sentiment.

“It’s life man, it’s the way of life. In order to be elite, it has to be the way you live,” he said.

Flores Sr.’s passion for boxing extends to Los Gallos, which he runs. The elder Flores spends each day molding young fighters into future champions. His tactics seem to be working well. One of his boxers, Andy Vences, just signed with Top Rank, the premiere label in boxing with fighters such as Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao.

While being No.1 in the country is enough for most teenagers, Flores Jr. is looking forward to another goal. “I see me turning pro at 17, I can go for the Olympics in 2020 but I’m kind of leaning towards going pro and I hope to become a world title holder,” said Flores Jr.

Flores Sr. is leaving the choice up to his son, letting his son decide his own future, and just sticking to the training part.

“If he gets tired of fighting amateur, it’s totally up to him,” said Flores Sr. “We have connections with Top Rank, I got a fighter, Andy Vences, signed with Top Rank right now and they like Gabriel already,so Gabriel has a lot of options.”

The father son duo spoke on their first day back at the gym after a trip to Russia where Flores Jr. took on the international competition at the AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships.

He brought home the silver in an impressive showing on the big stage.

“I was totally satisfied with Gabriel’s performance, he was the youngest kid out there and dominating,” said his father.

Flores Jr. has another tournament coming in January, in which he will be fighting for a spot on Team USA again.

The young fighter certainly has a bright future ahead of himself, while the older Flores continues to make an impact in future fighters’ lives.

“I love Stockton, man, so I want to stay right here and if bigger things come, they’re coming here to Stockton,” said Flores Sr.