La Rosa Elementary School fifth-grader Andre Flores fell short of his goal while competing at the 2018 USA Boxing Silver Gloves National Tournament earlier this month in Missouri.
Southpaw Marcus Luther of Washington D.C. prevented Flores from winning his second straight national title.
"He can walk away with his head held high," said Damian Flores, Andre's father, strength and conditioning coach, and nutritionist. "He has nothing to be ashamed of."
Andre and eventual-champion Marcus faced off in the Pee-Wee 9-10-year-old 75-pound division on Feb. 1.
Luther won their first-round matchup by split decision.
"I knew it was going to be a good fight," Damian said. "It should have been the final. It was close. It could have gone either way. I looked at the tape. I saw the mistakes. Andre has a tendency to lift his chin up when he jabs and gets tagged in the face. We have to fix that. We have to make adjustments."
Marcus edged Flores thanks in large part to his ring generalship.
"He was putting a lot of pressure on me and I was backing up a lot," Andre said. "I needed to be more aggressive."
"Marcus dictated the pace," Damian said. "Andre let off the throttle. You can't do that. You got to be aggressive."
Flores tasted defeat for the first time when he lost to Luther while finishing in third place at the Jr. Olympics this past June in West Virginia.
Andre won his previous 17 fights.
"Marcus is a tough kid," Damian said. "He's no pushover. He's won different events and national titles. He's humble. I have nothing bad to say about Marcus."
"I'm happy that I qualified for Nationals but I would have liked to win again," Andre said. "I'm going to do better next time. I'll be ready."
Flores placed first at the Silver Gloves Regional-8 Championships for the second year in a row in January.
He successfully defended his title at the state tournament in December.
Andre, who has an overall record of 27-5, will compete at the Central California Association, LBC 46 USA Boxing Junior Olympics in Oakdale this April.