Gabriel Flores, 19, started boxing at seven years old. Growing up in Stockton, the sport gave him an outlet to keep himself out of trouble. He knew early on that boxing professionally was his main aspiration, and today he’s signed to Top Rank Promotions, boxes on ESPN, and won an amateur world title before turning pro.
“I asked my father if I could train one day,” Gabriel says. “Ever since then I haven’t looked back.”
Gabriel travels all over the country to fight, with notable appearances in Nevada and right here in Stockton. His favorite memory was getting into the ring on May 4 at the Stockton Arena.
The fight drew a crowd of 10,000 people, with millions more watching it live on ESPN. Gabriel finished with a third round knockout. So far, he’s undefeated.
“That’s my family. That’s my people who I fight for every time I go in the ring,” he says. “It was my best performance.”
Gabriel is working hard to meet his inspiring goals. A promising young athlete, he hopes to one day hold multiple world championships in different weight classes. And as he continues to train, Gabriel is also giving his time to another cause—speaking to Stockton youth at sporting events and school assemblies. He gives motivational speeches empowering kids with a similar upbringing to his to do whatever they want in life, to follow any dream they have.
Some kids think the only way out of hard situations is in “the worst ways possible,” Gabe explains. But he says he’s an example to these kids that you can do well. With his platform, he is dedicated to preaching his message that children growing up in Stockton have unlimited options for their futures.
“It could change a kid from doing bad to good,” he says. That’s why Gabriel prioritizes these talks. That, and it’s an opportunity to give back to the city where he still resides.
“Stockton made me who I am,” Gabriel says. “The person I am today is because of my city.”
Went Pro May 5, 2017
Graduated: Cesar Chavez High School
Current City: Stockton