A Stockton boxer who is only 17 years old makes his professional debut in a special Cinco de Mayo bout Friday night.
Gabriel Flores Jr. takes on Devon Jones, 25, of Sacramento in a four-round lightweight (132 pounds) fight at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada. The boxing world has been excited over the kid for a while. He became the youngest fighter ever to sign a pro contract by Top Rank Inc., but had to weight for his 17th birthday to fight professionally in Nevada. Also, he was ranked the No. 1 fighter in the world in his weight division when he decided to go pro.
As an amateur, Flores, who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, won 91 fights and lost just seven. Jones is 2-2.
Highly touted lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores Jr . , who at 16-year-old became the youngest fighter that Top Rank® has ever signed, will make his pro debut in one of the most traditonally important dates for Mexican boxing, when he gets in the ring for the first time as a pro at the ‘Cinco de Mayo’ card that will take place at the Reno Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, and will be headlined by unbeaten Mexican American contender, José Ramírez. Flores Jr., who’s family is from Guadalajara, Mexico, was born and raised in Stockton, California, and will leave behind an amateur record of 91 wins and just 7 losses. The young fighter conquered 12 National Championships as an amateur. He is currently the No. 1 ranked fighter in the world in his division according to the Michael Smiths Rankings. Flores Jr. made the US Team in back to back occasions in 2015 and 2016. He has been ranked number #1 in the US since he was 11 years old. “I feel honored and privileged to fight on ‘Cinco de Mayo’. I'm ready to put on a show for all my people. It means a lot to me to be the youngest fighter in Top Rank’s history. It's a story that hasn't been told before and I plan on exceeding all expectations,” said Flores Jr., who turns 17 on May 1. The young fighter will be trained and managed by his father, Gabriel Flores Sr., who has guided his son’s career from day one. “Junior has trained his whole life for this moment and he has always trained to be number one. He will continue to do the same on the pro ranks,” said Flores Sr. "Flores is 209 tough and no matter what life throws at him, he continues to defy the odds and create history while doing so," said Flores’s advisor, Rick Mirigian. Flores Jr. wants to bring change to his city of Stockton, CA, one of the most violent cities in America. He lost his mom in a drive by shooting and has seen and lived the violence up close with his family and friends and is committed to bringing change to his community with putting together fights that will be advocating anti-violence and anti-bullying campaigns to his area on a Nation
“I’m excited to see my performance,” Flores told The Record newspaper of Stockon. “I want to see if I look good, I want to see how I landed punches and what mistakes I made so we can fix them for the next fight.”
Flores told The Record that he is expecting friends, family and fans to make the trip to Reno. When he turns 18 next year, his followers may get a chance to catch him fighting in California. Maybe even Stockton.
Weigh-in: 5 p.m.
The card: 6 p.m.
Location: Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada
TV: UniMas and Univision Deportes