CERES - A 9 year old boxing champ is preparing to attend the Silver Gloves national boxing tournament in Kansas City, Missouri in February after dedicating his most recent win to a special fan.
Andre Flores began boxing competitively at eight years old in 2016. A young focused athlete, he uses boxing to build his confidence. In total, he has won eight fights, one exhibition where he was awarded a belt, and two walkovers.
His first fight was in Stockton against an opponent from Salinas named Soto. Andre never showed any signs of nervousness during the event.
“When the fight was over, he came out of the ring and asked who won,” said Andre’s father Damian Flores. Andre re-entered the ring to be announced victorious.
Damian is Andre’s strength and conditioning coach. His routine running is three miles. He runs up and down stairs. He sprints with resistance bands. He attaches two pound weights to his wrists and legs and jog and punch. Andre doesn’t tire out and has outrun other athletes nearly ten years older.
At the gym, Andre is very focused. He does three rounds of shadow boxing, then three rounds on a speed bag. He spars with other athletes, often times older than himself. After the gym, he goes home to complete all of his homework. Andre’s ethics are described as respectful and loving, and has even made the honor roll at his school.
In addition to boxing, Andre played baseball as an all-star pitcher, and football for the Ceres Junior Bulldogs. He made 16 touchdowns in eight games. It was through his time playing football, where fate would have Andre meet his biggest fan and touch her heart in the most unexpected way.
Dinia Beltramo’s son played football with Andre two years ago. She connected with his father Damian via social media to see if he might have taken photos of her son at any of their games.
Dinia has suffered devastating major losses in her life recently. She lost her father on September 17th to a terminal cancer. She was due to be married the next day. She received word of his passing at 2:00am.
On Friday, September 30th, her husband passed away from cardiovascular disease. He showed no symptoms, as the disease may have disguised itself as heartburn.
On Monday October 18th, her grandfather passed away. He was 99 years old.
Dinia was in a very deep grieving stage from back to back losses when she received a phone call. It was Andre’s dad Damian checking in on her. They spoke briefly when he passed the phone over to Andre.
“He expressed his condolences to me then he said he was going to win the fight for me,” Dinia said.
Andre kept his promise and won his championship match that night.
The act brought a lot of encouragement and strength during what Dinia described as a pit of grief. It made Andre feel good about himself.
Reaching the championship was not as easy as it sounds. Andre had to compete in the valley division of the tournament, which began in Fresno. He advanced through the regionals which included seven states. He defeated Ronald Plata from Arizona and Danten Kaheaku of Hawaii, who had won the nationals twice in previous competitions.
So from February 1st through the 4th Andre will find himself in Kansas City, Missouri competing in the national championships. While everyone will be rooting for him, he has his one biggest fan who will be cheering a little harder.
If you would like to support Andre on his trip, his family has established a GoFundMe account for him. You can donate by CLICKING HERE.