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Flores first at Silver Gloves National Championships
La Rosa Elementary School fourth-grader Andre Flores captured the 65-pound title at the 50th Annual Silver Gloves National Championships this past month in Missouri. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Andre Flores' latest accomplishment puts him in rare company.

The La Rosa Elementary School fourth-grader captured the 65-pound crown at the 50th Annual Silver Gloves National Championships this past month.

"Oscar De La Hoya and Andre Ward both won national titles (while representing Region 8) when they were kids," said Andre Flores' father Damian. "Now, he's a part of that group."

"I think it's really cool to do something they did when they were little like me," Andre Flores said.

Andre won both of his fights while competing in front of large crowds at the Hilton Garden Inn in Independence, Missouri.

"I really didn't feel any pressure," Andre said. "I was really focused. When I stepped in the ring, I was very confident. For some reason, I don't get nervous."

"When it's time to get his hands wrapped, he gets tunnel vision," Damian said. "His whole demeanor changes."

Flores collected victories against Ohio's Deshaun Carter (Region 2) and New York's Fynest Cummings (Region 1) in the Boys Open 8-to-9-year-old division.

"I landed more punches and they weren't hitting me as much," Andre said.

Flores topped Carter in the finals on Feb. 4.

"He had to do a lot of inside work," Damian said. "The kid kept smothering him."

Flores beat Cummings in the semifinals on Feb. 3.

Andre brought home a championship belt and gold medal from Nationals.

"They showed me the belt before the fight," Andre said. "I wanted it."

"I worked his corner," Damian said. "It was a privilege to do that. I'm a proud father and coach."

Flores improved his overall record to a perfect 13-0.

He's won titles at the national, regional and state levels.

"I'm very excited to be a national champion," Andre said.
"I trained so hard. I was running to lose weight. I'm very proud of myself."

"He was really focused from the start to end," Damian said.

Flores climbed to No. 1 in the National Silver Gloves Rankings for 65-pound boxers.

"I still don't think he realizes the significance of what he's done," Damian said. "He's a kid. He was running around and laughing after he won (the national title). There's always room for improvement. Basically, boxing is like chess. It's a thinking game."

Added Andre: "I need to work on my defense."

Flores will put his perfect record on the line at ther Western Elite Qualifier and Regional Open Championship next month in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He will travel to West Virginia this summer to compete at the Jr. Olympics, Youth Open & Prep Nationals.

"We want him to fight the best of the best," Damian said. "It will enhance his talent. He's a gifted kid. He's self-motivated. I don't have to prompt him to do anything. He can become a world champion as long as he stays on the right path."