East Texas Boxer, Soldier Fighting For Olympic Gold

On a night when the army came marching in, these world class athletes marched off with yet another team title for the black and gold.

Including Specialist James Villa of Flint, who wore down wore down his marine opponent in the ring.

"Fourth round he wanted to take the fight to my playground.  So I had to show him what's up, how we do it. [I have] Two great coaches. I just execute and do what they tell me," says James during his break from the fight.

James' parents were ringside for all the action. His father, Joe Villa, knew James would be accomplishing big things when a noted army boxing coach scoped his son out.

"He said 'I'm going to give your son a break and see if he can make the all-Army team. Not only did my boy make the Army team. He won the army championship!," says Joe proudly.

James got a feel for boxing in middle school and has been throwing punches since.

But it runs in the family on both sides, his parents run a boxing gym in Troup. Dad doubles up as ringside coach.

"I tell him, look, listen to your coach. Pay attention to detail. Stay 10 minutes extra. Squeeze that info and talent from your coach," says Joe.

After leading by just four points entering the final round, Villa wound up winning by 19 points. Which qualified him for the Olympic trials in August.

Even though his dad was a boxing referee for the 2004 Olympics.  He and the family now hope to be spectators watching another Villa in 2008.

"His grandmother, grandfather, all of us always say we're so proud of you, stay on your mission, stay on your goal. And we love him and we're proud of him," says Joe.

James eventually plans to hang up his boxing gloves and attend law school in Boston after leaving the Army.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com