Michael Johnson - London Shoot Future Star
Interview by SFUKED, 14 January 2001
Michael Johnson (facing camera) - pro debut, photo by Levo
At SFUK recently we've been doing a series of interviews with the new talents to emerge onto the British scene in 2000. Just the other day I had the honour of hooking up with the youngest of the London Shootfighters, Michael Johnson. Michael's gone from two great showings in the amateur pancrase to making his pro debut in November with a thrilling bout against Christophe Durant in the pro Pancrase. We sat down and had a brief chat after Michael had spent all day drilling his stand up down at Peacock's gym.
Michael Johnson Interview
SFUKED: Ok Michael, we'll start at the beginning. How long have you been training at London Shootfighters?
Michael Johnson: I've been at London Shootfighters for around 10 months
SFUKED:Had you trained at all before that?
Michael Johnson: Yeah, I started when I was seven as a matter of fact.
Michael Johnson: Yeah, I started some karate, semi contact stuff but I didn't find it effective so I went along to the Academy
SFUKED: What, Bob Breen's place?
Michael Johnson: Yeah Bob Breen's place and I met this guy called Tony T, who fought in the Pancrase recently, and he introduced me to Fred Rado. So I was training with Fred in the Pancrase and stuff and I met this guy who went to London Shoot. I went up there to train and that was in, like March 2000 and since then I've been with London Shoot.
SFUKED: So your first competition was the amateur Pancrase back in April?
Michael Johnson: Yeah, that one. I went into that a little unprepared coz I was with London Shoot for a bout a month before that and I'd only had about four training sessions beforehand.
SFUKED:Right but you still did really well. I mean you came, like, second?
Michael Johnson: No, I think I was third or something. I lost to Andrew Liu and, er, Dave McLoughlin as well.
SFUKED: But the second amateur pancrase you won...
Michael Johnson: Yeah I was pretty happy with that.
SFUKED: Uh huh, you were impressive that day. You spent like, nearly a whole minute on the mat altogether...
Michael Johnson: lol, I was pretty happy with that, know what I mean? Fred Rado was pleased with that, you know. I trained hard for that. I had to lose weight, as always, on that day but it was cool though. I enjoyed it.
SFUKED: So you go down to under 71kg?
Michael Johnson: Yeah I normally try and make it around, well my walking weight is around about 72.5 and I like to lose a little weight before I fight. I go in around 70-71.
SFUKED: And if we move on to your first pro fight at the Pancrase..
Michael Johnson: Oh yeah, that's a story isn't it? *smiles* No, er, I mean, yeah it was a good fight...
SFUKED: I enjoyed it. It was great to watch.
Michael Johnson:lol, I haven't seen the tape but I heard it was a good fight. I had to lose, well put it this way, I was on the treadmill and the bike for like an hour and a half before the fight. They had to put my fight back a couple of fights so I could get re-hydrated.
SFUKED: You had to cut a lot of weight?
Michael Johnson: Yeah, for some reason Fred's scales said I was 75 kilos, which is like....*shrugs*. My scales at home said I was 71 and coz like the fight was agreed for 70 kg and the other fighter was 72. Yeah, I mean I had to lose the weight and stuff but it was still a good fight you know. That guy was a tough guy, I enjoyed it though. It was good.
SFUKED: Alexis said recently had he known the guy was a lot more experienced than you, you might not have fought him (see John Thorpe interview).
Michael Johnson: Yeah, I mean we didn't know but we're not making excuses. I got beaten fairly, yeah I got beat but I don't mind, it doesn't affect me.
SFUKED: Ok, moving on to the future. Have you got any fights booked? Is there anyone you're looking to fight?
Michael Johnson: Well, I mean, not really. I don't mind who comes along next. As long as I train hard for it and everything. I've got the best guys around to spar with and train me so I'm pretty confident. We'll see what happens. Maybe MB2, maybe but I'm not so sure, we'll see how it goes.
SFUKED: And are you still going to do the amateur competitions?
Michael Johnson: I'm probably going to do some amateur grappling comps but we'll see how that comes along coz I really like vale tudo and stuff and I really want to get into that. Definitely.
SFUKED: Ok Mike, is there anything you'd like to add before we stop the tape?
Michael Johnson: No not really, just that I train with a lot of great guys and they look after me. *smiles*
SFUKED: Ok, thanks very much Mike.
Michael Johnson: That's cool. Thanks.
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