Sports

Stockton’s Gabriel Flores Jr. biding his time for a world title bout

Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Flores Jr. of Stockton throws a punch at Alex Rynn Torres in the third round of a lightweight bout at the Save Mart Center.
Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Flores Jr. of Stockton throws a punch at Alex Rynn Torres in the third round of a lightweight bout at the Save Mart Center. jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

Gabriel Flores Jr. is in no rush to call for a title fight anytime soon.

That’s because the 18-year-old Stockton resident has time on his hands.

Flores, who grew up wanting to become a professional boxer, demonstrated the skills that led Top Rank Promotions to sign him while he was still a student at César Chávez High School in the undercard of a Feb. 10 ESPN-televised boxing event at the Save Mart Center.

Flores walked away with a unanimous decision against Alex Rynn Torres in a 6-round, lightweight bout. Flores improved to 12-0, while the 32-year-old Canadian opponent dropped to 6-3.

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Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Flores Jr. of Stockton wears a T-shirt with a photo of his mother, Juanita Maldonado, who was killed by a stray bullet in 2013. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

“I’ll fight everyone they send me,” said Flores, who is trained by his father. “When they set up that world title fight, I’ll be ready.”

Flores, making his third appearance at the Save Mart Center, dominated the bout against Torres and was never threatened.

He downplayed any thought that he lacks the power to floor an opponent. He does have 5 knockout wins.

“I’m not looking for haymakers,” he said. “When I want to show it, I’ll show it. Right now, I’m boxing. I’ve gotten some knockouts. I’m not falling into that trap.”

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Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Flores Jr. of Stockton throws a punch at Alex Rynn Torres in the sixth round of a lightweight bout at the Save Mart Center. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

Flores continues to fight in memory of his mother, Juanita Maldonado, who was killed by a stray bullet on March 17, 2013 while at a child’s birthday party in Stockton. Three men reportedly walked up and started shooting. Five people were shot, and two were killed.

Flores walked into the ring in front of 14,000 spectators at the Save Mart Center with a T-shirt bearing his mother’s picture.

“This is a dream my mom wanted me to have accomplished,” Flores told The Fresno Bee last year. “When I’m wearing the shirt of her, I’m smiling and I feel good, so that lets you know I feel her next to me and I feel her watching me.”

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Eighteen-year-old Gabriel Flores Jr. of Stockton lands a punch on Alex Rynn Torres in the second round of a lightweight bout at the Save Mart Center. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

Flores enjoys fighting in Fresno.

“There’s a lot of Mexicans, my people, here,” said Flores. “I’m fighting in front of my people. It actually makes me feel good, and I want to put on an extra performance and try to get a knockout sometimes.”

So far, Flores is enjoying his profession.

“I’m delighted with my decision,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier with it.”

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