Gabriel Flores Jr., the 18-year-old phenom and former U.S. amateur standout, will make his ESPN debut on Friday, Sept. 14 as part of the world championship card headlined by Jose Ramirez’s WBC super lightweight title defense against Antonio Orozco at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
Flores (9-0, 5 KOs) will face Roger “El Puas” Gutierrez (7-1-1, 1 NC, 4 KOs) in a six-round junior lightweight bout. Ramirez-Orozco, Flores-Gutierrez and Jamel Herring versus John Vincent Moralde for the vacant USBA junior lightweight title will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10 p.m. ET. The entire undercard will stream live at 7:30 p.m. ET in the United States on ESPN+— the recently-launched multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
“It’s going to feel good to fight on ESPN in California so close to home, to be on a big stage to inspire the kids in Stockton, my hometown,” Flores said. “I want to open their eyes for them to know they can accomplish their own dreams. This opportunity is a dream come true.”
“Flores has the whole package, and without question, he is going to be a major star,” said Rick Mirigian, Flores’ adviser. “With his ESPN TV debut on the sport’s biggest weekend in front of 14,000 people near his hometown, a star will be born.”
Flores won U.S. Junior National Championships in 2015 and 2016, concluding his stellar amateur career with a 91-7 record. In November 2016, at the age of 16, he became the youngest fighter ever to sign a promotional contract with Top Rank. He made his professional debut on May 5, 2017, only four days after his 17th birthday. Trained by his father, Gabriel Flores Sr., the recent high school graduate has kept a busy schedule as a pro fighting on high-profile undercards. He is 4-0 thus far in 2018, most recently scoring a six-round unanimous decision against James De Herrera on July 7 at the Save Mart Center. Flores also appeared on the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn card June 9 in Las Vegas, notching a shutout four-round decision against Jorge Rojas Zacazontetl.
Gutierrez represents Flores’ toughest test to date, as he is 3-0 with a no contest since the lone defeat on his ledger. A 25-year-old who trains out of Pacoima, Calif., Gutierrez last fought on April 28 and took some time away from the sport because of a hand injury. Now fully recovered, he hopes to spoil Flores’ ESPN debut.