Damon Flores reached the pinnacle of his sport this past week when he finished in first place at the USA Boxing National Junior Olympic Championships in Wisconsin.
Flores, who will enter the third grade at La Rosa Elementary School in Ceres this fall, claimed the Pee-Wee 8-year-old 65-pound title.
“He’s excited,” said Damian Flores, Damon’s father, nutritionist and trainer. “This is the biggest stage for youth boxing. He’s gone above and beyond my expectations.”
Flores won all three of his matches at the National Junior Olympics, staged June 23-29, in Madison.
He scored a first-round knockdown on his way to earning a unanimous-decision victory against Ohio’s Demarquise Cox in the finals on June 27.
He beat New Jersey’s Erik Lebrun by unanimous decision in the semifinals on June 26. Flores bloodied Lebrun’s nose in the third round.
He earned a disqualification win against Missouri’s Tyrese Anthony in the first round on June 25. Anthony failed to make weight.
“He dominated,” Damian said. “I envisioned that happening based on his past performance. His level of experience is way different. He’s actually a little more advanced than kids his age. They got to play catch up to him.”
Flores improved his overall record to 13-1.
He’s reeled off eight straight wins since suffering his first loss en route to a third-place finish at the USA Nationals in Utah last December.
“He was upset after losing,” Damian said. “Ever since then, he’s been on a roll. It made him more hungry.”
Flores claimed his third national crown.
He took first at the National Silver Gloves Tournament on Feb. 2 in Missouri.
He placed first at the Nevada Titles National Boxing Tournament on April 28 in Las Vegas.
“He’s comfortable competing on the big stage."Damian Flores on his son, Damian Flores
“He’s comfortable competing on the big stage,” Damian said.
Part of Flores’ training regimen leading up to the National Junior Olympics included training in the Bay Area.
“For the past month, we’ve been going to San Francisco to spar against older kids that are more seasoned,” Damian said. “That played a role in his success. That raised his boxing IQ.”
Flores will compete in the 9-10 age group at the USA Nationals in Lake Charles, Louisiana this December.
Damon turns nine on July 31st.
“We’ll see what the level is once he gets to Nationals,” Damian said. “As long as he stays focused, he’ll do fine. He’s a good kid. He works hard. He’s humble.”