Student shoots for 2016 Team USA
After winning the Kansas City Golden Gloves tournament for the fifth year in a row and competing multiple times on national stages, the 2016 Olympics is his next desired destination. Convergent media major Thomas Huitt-Johnson is a prominent boxer when he’s not in class. The young fighter has owned his weight class in the Kansas City region and competed at the National Golden Gloves level five years running in Salt Lake City, Denver, Little Rock, Tulsa and Las Vegas. Huitt-Johnson grew up around the sport of boxing and had his first official fight when he was 9 years old, weighing in at a hefty 53 pounds. “My older brothers started when they were 10 and 11, and at that time I was like 2 or 3, so I was born into it basically,” Huitt-Johnson said. “My brothers were the ones who actually started. I was just really young to begin with. I was always hanging around the gym as a little toddler.” Huitt-Johnson has always looked up to his older brothers and their boxing careers, but also looked up to well-known fighters such as Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. “Floyd Mayweather is really fast and is really laid back; he doesn’t throw a lot of punches,” Huitt-Johnson said. “I really like Floyd’s style the most because he doesn’t ever get hit and that’s like me; I don’t get hit very often. But how he acts out of the ring tarnishes it. I’d say Manny Pacquiao is my favorite because of the way he handles himself outside of the ring, and that’s how I like to be.” He might put a lot of hard work toward his boxing career, but it definitely isn’t his only passion. “If I don’t make the 2016 Olympics, I’ll be done with boxing,” Huitt-Johnson said. “I’ll hang around the sport, but I’m not interested in being a professional boxer. That’s why I’m going to school for convergent media. I want to write sports or do radio. I’m not sure if it’ll be for boxing, but I know a lot about it, and basketball and football, also. Writing for a newspaper or any publication would be cool.” Writing always was his favorite thing to do as a child. He would always take advantage of opportunities that allowed him to write fictional stories. Although he’s grown up, his passion for writing hasn’t changed. Huitt-Johnson sees himself one day having a career in sports journalism, but he still has awhile before his boxing career is done. To most people an overall record of 52-22 would sound like a seasoned fighter on the verge of hanging up the gloves. When that fighter is only three years out of high school, the young gun hasn’t even hit his physical prime yet. Huitt-Johnson’s fights aren’t your typical wannabe-Kimbo Slice backyard brawls; each fight takes months to prepare for. Huitt-Johnson’s coach for the past five years, Jason Redmond, believes that he has an advantage over most of the fighters he faces. “Tommy is a really good kid,” Redmond said. “He fights hard and is smart. He separates himself from the rest because of his knowledge of boxing.” After falling just short of making the 2012 Olympics by losing to the guy who made team USA for his weight class, he now has all the more reason to train harder than ever before. He’s now on the clock to do whatever it takes to represent America on the international level and has many fights left in front of him. Huitt-Johnson is continuing to perfect his craft, both as a student and a fighter. He’s as hungry as ever to add more wins to his record and bump his resume up from a national level boxer to an Olympic athlete for team USA.