La Rosa Elementary School fourth-grader Andre Flores made good on a promise to Dinia Beltramo by winning the 65-pound title at the 2017 Silver Gloves Western Regional-8 Championships on Jan. 7 in Compton.
“I just wanted to make her feel good and happy,” said Flores, 9.
Dinia, the mother of one of Andre’s former youth football teammates, lost her husband, father and grandfather in a 13-day span in September.
“He talked with her on the phone,” said Damian Flores, Andre’s father. “He told her he was going to win the fight for her. I thought that was pretty cool. He has a new No. 1 fan.”
“I’m always in awe and amazement in how he carries himself,” said Andrea Perkins, Andre’s mother. “He’s very sweet and kind. He cares about people. He’s an amazing little guy. I’m very proud and honored to be his mom.”
“This really isn't about me as much as it is about this little boy Andre,” Beltramo said. “This sweet young fighter had a heart for a woman who lost so much in her life when he had never even met me before. God bless his sweet soul.”
Flores improved his overall record to a perfect 11-0.
Andre won a three-round split decision over previously-unbeaten/two-time national champion Danten Kaheaku of Hawaii in the finals at Regionals.
Flores helped place a silver medal around Kaheaku’s neck before collecting his award.
“I felt confident when I got in the ring,” Andre said. “I just felt like I was going to win. I threw and landed more punches.”
“I was a nervous wreck,” Damian stated while describing how he felt before the winner was announced.
“I was on the edge of my seat,” Andrea added.
Flores sparred with 11-to-12-year-old boxers from Stockton, Sacramento, San Jose and San Francisco in Richmond leading up to Regionals.
“When I fight older kids, they hit harder and know more,” he said. “I learn a lot when I’m in the ring with them.”
Andre advanced to the Regional-8 event after capturing the Silver Gloves California State title in Los Angeles on Dec. 4.
Flores won a three-round unanimous decision over Noah Arroyo of Los Angeles.
Andre took first in the novice division at the Central California Association Jr. Olympics in Fresno.
Flores is a member of the Salvation Army Modesto Red Shield Center’s Boxing Club.
“It’s in our DNA,” Damian said. “His great grandfather (Louis Jordan) is in the Bay Area Hall of Fame. Our other cousin (Leonard Davis IV) is a professional fighter.”
“He surprises me how he goes in there, focuses and excels,” Andrea said. “He sets these goals.”
Flores doesn’t seem to be bothered by the bright lights.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” Andre said while talking about his ability to focus. “For some reason, I can’t hear anyone else but my coaches and see anyone else but my opponent when I’m in the ring.”
“I’m not sure where he gets that from,” Andrea said. “It’s just part of his personality. He believes in himself. He trains really hard.”
“He’s got a God-given gift,” Damian said. “Everybody that knows him sees it.”
The National Silver Gloves Championships will be staged, Feb. 1-4, in Missouri.
“I’m very excited,” Andre said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to do really well. I feel confident about it.”
A tri-tip fundraiser dinner will be held for Andre on Jan. 27 (5 p.m.) at the Red Shield.
Cost is $30 per ticket.
For more information, call 209-538-7111.
“It’s our responsibility we get the funding for him to go,” Damian said. “I need the public to embrace my child. He can become a pillar in this community and help other children.”