The fight scene in Stockton, California, always has been filled with of tough-as-nails individuals. Downtown, boxing mentor Gabriel Flores Sr. regularly enjoys Tacos Vampiros from Nena’s restaurant, which from the outside has a view of the Stockton Arena. That’s where his son, up-and-coming Top Rank lightweight fighter Gabriel Flores Jr., hopes to headline in May. Vampire tacos may be fitting for Flores Sr., an amateur international coach and rising professional trainer. He has dedicated his work to an industry that can be quite the blood-sucking business.
He starts speaking about the genuine care and attention to detail while training his son and others in his gym. In the back end of an industrial complex is Los Gallos Boxing Academy, where Flores Sr. trains his fighters. Los Gallos is Spanish for “The Roosters,” which makes you believe you are about to see a pack of warriors beating each other up in a gym as bloody as a cock fight. Once again, reality will surprise you.
Flores Sr. teaches the lost art of boxing skills. Inside the gym, he comments about the distance between a fighter’s feet and how everything starts with the feet, which creates angles. The fighters are training and learning boxing the smart way.
Gabriel Flores Jr., the star in the making who has won all four of his pro fights, three by knockout, headlines Let’s Get it On Promotions card Friday night at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center in Reno. He will face Alexander Acuna, who is 2-1 with 1 knockout, from Sonora, Mexico.
Among the talent joining 17-year-old Flores in camp is 19-year-old lightweight Victor Morales, who is new to the scene and is a boxer that Flores Sr. promises will “tighten up some things.” Two others training at the Stockton gym are women’s amateur standout Mikaela Mayer and Brooklyn amateur Harley Mederos.
“I feel comfortable with (Flores Sr.) and we just work well together,” Mederos said. “When I didn’t have a coach at a tournament, he stepped in.” Rounding out the talent-filled gym is unbeaten bantamweight and 2016 Olympic alternate Brent Venegas. Like Mayer, he travels from Sacramento to train with Flores Sr., passing on opportunities closer to home. Venegas (3-0, 1 KO) will face Ricardo Sandoval (8-1, 7 KOs) in a six-round bantamweight bout.
No favoritism is shown and the Flores father-son relationship quickly dissolves when senior sounds off on junior for his lack of power on the mitts. At the root of it all, there is the natural warriors’ instinct that a life in Stockton will give you. Los Gallos is a rising stable and a payoff to years of sacrifice. Friday’s Reno card is Flores Jr.’s first time headlining and Venegas is on the card, as well.
The bouts, hosted by Atlantis Casino, start at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6. Besides Flores and Venegas, the show features Reno’s Oscar “Chapito” Vasquez (14-1, 3 KOs), who looks to take another step toward a flyweight title against Tijuana’s Victor Ruiz (22-7, 15 KOs). Also on the card are Northern Nevada prospects Diego Elizondo in his second pro bout and Ricardo Lucio-Galvan, a fan favorite Reno amateur and business administration student at the University of Nevada, who will be making his professional debut. He will face Portland, Oregon’s Ben Amezquita in a four-round lightweight fight.
Tickets can be purchased at the Atlantis Gift Shop for $35, $65, or $100, by calling Atlantis Special Events 888-551-7007 or 775-824-4467, or via ticketmaster.com.