After finishing with a bronze medal in the Dallas Invitational last year, that he paid the price for with a broken shoulder, 12-year-old judoka Xavion Johnson was determined to win the gold this time around at the Irving Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, USA.
He won gold medals in the Intermediate 2 Division that ranged from age 11 to 12 and Juvenile A with the age ranging from 13 to 14 about a week ago. He won that gold medal in Juvenile A despite fighting up an age category.
In the Intermediate 2 category, he fought in three preliminary matches before defeating Gabriel Borisch in the gold medal match.
In the Juvenile A matches, Johnson won his first two preliminary matches before winning the gold medal match against Callum Kuehn. Johnson said Kuehn was older and stronger but not taller than he is.
Both categories were under 38 kilograms (kg). After sweeping these two categories, Johnson was named as the most outstanding junior.
This was the biggest and most competitive tournament that he fought in over the past month.
Apart from the Dallas Invitational, Johnson also fought in three other tournaments in the past month and won gold medals in all, via ippon also.
In the Samurai Slam in South Carolina on November 3, Johnson won two gold medals and was named the most outstanding junior competitor.
He won golds in the Intermediate 2 and Juvenile A classes. This was the second largest tournament he took part in over the month.
The compact and strong judoka also took part in the Tennessee State Championships on October 27. He fought and won in both the Intermediate 2 and Juvenile A categories. This was his third year getting all gold medals in this competition.
On November 10, Johnson took part in the Melton’s Judo Club Championships in Mississippi, finishing with two golds again – they were in the Intermediate 2 and Juvenile A categories.
After all his tournaments Johnson said he feels good winning the matches, but he is tired.
As for how he won all those matches, he said: “I was focused and I believed that I could win all of the matches after training so hard. I also believed that I could have won the match by ippon.”
To get to where Johnson is requires lots of training. He said he trains every day to work on his craft. He runs two miles almost every day. In addition to that, he does sit-ups, push-ups, squats and then works on techniques on the mat.
Johnson trains under Sensei Joshua White of Black Ice Judo Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sensei White said: “The thing that makes him (Johnson) special is that he is willing to set goals that seems to be unreachable for most people. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get that goal accomplished. I think he has the potential to be an Olympian and a multiple world medalist. The sky is the limit as long as he keeps the focus that he has right now.”
White added that nothing surprises him about Johnson as he strives to be the best judoka on the mat.
With the experience that Johnson has gained over the past year by participating in different events overseas, he is regarded as one who could achieve much in the sport.
In The Bahamas, Johnson trains three times per day under the guidance of Sensei Mickey Munnings at Eastwood Judo Club.
Johnson said: “Judo is something that I truly love to do. It is my dream and my hope.”
Up next for the young judoka is more training and school for the rest of the year. He is now beginning gradual preparation for 2019 tournaments.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism