Jaxon Hillner has added two more international medals to his growing collection.
That was his goal competing in Orlando, Florida Oct. 23-29 at the World Karate Commission (WKC) 2021 World Championships.
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The 16-year-old from Delmer won a gold medal in 15-17 year old light contact continuous kickboxing and a bronze medal in point fighting (under 60 kg).
“There was good competition, but there was no Europeans, which was unfortunate – they, especially the British, are always fun to fight,” said Hillner. “More competition in point fighting than in my better division, light contact kickboxing.”
Hillner’s semifinal point-sparring opponent, Joshua Heyward, was the same American from his light contact kickboxing finals.
“We were around the same size,” said Hillner. “I should have beat him in point… it was close.”
The point-fighting semifinal went to overtime and Hillner was edged out.
“It was back and forth. I led most of the match and at the end I had a lazy leg when I was kicking, so he got a quick point there. Then it went to overtime. It was still back and forth in overtime because you have to win by two points. The final score ended up being 9-7.
“He (Heyward) wasn’t a kickboxer, he was a point fighter,” said Hillner, noting he stuck around to watch the finals.
Heyward advanced to the point sparring finals but lost the gold medal to Andre Espinoza from Guatemala.
Hillner said his coach from London, who had fought Espinoza ‘10-plus times,’ had figured if he got past Heyward, he could win the finals.
“He said, ‘I know how this kid fights.’ We were going to train the next three days (finals were Oct. 29 for all divisions) just to focus on him (Espinoza).”
In August 2021 Hillner had competed at the WKC Nationals in Ottawa, winning 1st (gold medal) in light contact kickboxing and fourth in point fighting in his weight division.
“Next year the World Championships are in Dublin, Ireland, so I’ll be keeping up my training and doing some running here and there.”
That will include martial arts training at The Pitt in LaSalette 2-3 times every week, and two days every week at Adrenalin, a London MMA gym. And training in Straffordville with Martial Arts Canada on Tuesdays.
“Busy weeks, yeah,” Hillner laughed.
“The focus now is explosiveness, speed. At least in point. more speed. I’ll be trying to get some rounds in with whoever I can, actual sparring for point.”
Hillner had several people to thank for their support in going to the 2021 World Championships including the Max Partlo Memorial Fund, The Pitt Martial Arts, Baldwin Street Chiropractic Clinic, Ostrander Veterinary Clinic, his coaches Sensei Mike Hill, Dennis Gurney and Cody Martyn, and of course, family and friends.
Jaxon Hillner, 16, from Delmer, won two medals at the 2021 WKC World Championships in Orlando, Florida. (Chris Abbott/Norfolk and Tillsonburg News)