James Palicte 2019 SEA Games boxing

December 9, 2019: Philippines’ James Palicte fights Vietnam’s Nguyen Van Hai during the 30th Southeast Asian Games’ men’s light welterweight (64 kg) final. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

MANILA, Philippines—James Palicte struck gold in his first Southeast Asian Games, and his immediate Midas touch was the result of a dream that he and his father Edmundo had.

The blazing light welterweight overwhelmed Vietnam’s Van Hai Nguyen to take a unanimous decision win in the boxing final of the 2019 SEA Games, in a fight he dedicated to his father.

“This was our dad’s dream for us brothers to see us win a gold medal in the SEA Games or Asian Games,” said Palicte in Filipino.

Palicte’s brothers Aston and Vincent opted to go the professional route instead of waiting it out in the amateurs, nevertheless the youngest of the trio was proud to accomplish what Edmundo wanted from them.

“I was motivated to get this because if my brothers didn’t do it, at least I did for my father.”

Palicte said his father wasn’t a boxer but was a fan of the sweet science and that Edmundo started training him as early as six-years-old.

Now 25, Palicte said that he initially tried to leave the sport since he’d rather play basketball.

Growing up as a Kobe Bryant fan, Palicte said basketball was the sport that gave him the most joy but he ultimately realized his father wanted the best for him and his future would be better through boxing.

“Basketball was really my favorite, that’s the sport I felt the happiest,” said Palicte, who is of course, a Lakers fan. “But my father knew what was best for me and for my future.”

“He loved the sport and I don’t regret my decision to become a boxer.”

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