STOCKTON (CBS13) — A 13-year-old Stockton boy landed his sixth title in amateur boxing, despite a recent tragedy.
“All of my preparing, all my training, everything is paying off,” he said.
His father, who is also his coach, says the loss fueled the teen’s desire to stay focused.
“That was really difficult for us,” Gabriel Flores, Sr. said. “It motivated him to accomplish what he needed to accomplish.
The teen remained determined like he has from the beginning. He followed in his big brother’s footsteps when he started boxing at the age of 7.
“He asked me, ‘I want to get in the ring,’” his father said. “I go, ‘Are you sure?’ He said ‘Yes, I want to go.’ He went in there and did pretty good, so he never stopped after that.”
Gabriel trains six days a week. It took him four months to prepare for the tournament.
“I love boxing, so it’s not like it’s mandatory to me. It’s like a privilege in a way. It’s my life, I love it,” he said.
Two local businesses and an American Legion post sponsor the teen, making it possible for him to fight in matches.
His dreams are much greater than conquering national championships.
“He wants to make the Olympic team in 2020,” his father said. “If he wants to turn professional before that, we can do that, too. It’s totally up to him. I’m going to support him in anything he wants to do.”