Fueled by recent disappointment, Andre Flores bounced back in a big way by placing first at the 2017 Ringside World Boxing Championships this past month in Missouri.
Flores, a fifth-grade student at La Rosa Elementary School in Ceres, won the 70-pound title while competing in the Boys Pee-Wee Open 8-to-10-year-old division.
Andre, 9, tasted defeat for the first time when he finished third at the Jr. Olympics, Youth Open & Prep Nationals in West Virginia.
He won his previous 17 fights.
Flores posted an 0-1 record at the Jr. National Golden Gloves in Nevada.
"That pushed me to get to my goal," Andre said. "It was a learning experience. When you lose, you see what you need to work on. I'm going to keep training hard."
"He's self-driven," said Damian Flores, Andre's father, strength and conditioning trainer, and nutritionist. "Once he gets his mind set on something, he's going to get it. He wants to be the cream of the crop."
Flores compiled a 3-0 record at the Ringside World Championships.
"I threw a lot of punches," Andre said. "I didn't back up and kept going forward. It was hard but I got the job done."
Flores won by split decision over Mason Vela in the finals on July 29.
He won by unanimous decision against Leonard Ross III on Thursday and split decision versus Israel Jaramillo on July 27.
"This is the pinnacle," Damian said. "People from all over the world participated. Andre was locked in. He fought hard. There are still some technical things he needs to work on, like tighter defense, and catching and countering punches."
Flores improved his overall record to 23-2.
"I press forward more," Andre said when asked how he's changed as a fighter since losing. "My guard is tighter. I'm throwing more punches. I'm not holding back."
Flores took first at the USA Boxing Western Elite Qualifier & Regional Open Championship in May. He captured the Pee-Wee 9-10-year-old 65-pound title.
Andre claimed the 65-pound crown at the 50th Annual Silver Gloves National Championships in February.
He also won Regional-8 and California State titles.
"It feels really good to accomplish what I have in the last two years," Andre said. "All of my hard work has paid off. I'm just grateful for everyone that's helped me out."
Andre will compete at PAL Nationals in September, Silver Gloves in November and USA Nationals in December.
"We have no financial backing," Damian said. "Hopefully, we can get some sponsors and endorsements so we don't have to worry about raising money so he can get to these places. That's my main focus."