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WTAE Pittsburgh Athlete of the Week – Xander Eddy

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WTAE Pittsburgh Athlete of the Week – Pittsburgh Karate / Kickboxing Champion, Xander Eddy

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Guy Junker Reports:

Action Athlete: Will air Feb. 1st, 2019 @ 5:30 on WTAE.  Set you DVR

Xander Eddy won a Gold Medal for Team USA (WAKO World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) National team at the 2018 Pan American Kickboxing Championships in Cancun, Mexico.  He won the team USA trials in Kansas City at the WAKO Nationals.  WAKO USA is the United States’ division of the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations and the governing body of Amateur kickboxing sport certified by Sport Accord and now as of 2018 a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Xander was honored by Governor Tom Wolf, Lt. Governor John Fetterman, Senator Kim Ward, and Rep. George Dunbar at Harrisburg with a proclamation of his dedication and success in the sport of karate and kickboxing. Xander represent Team Kumite (Pittsburgh, based all-star team) and trains at Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” Karate Dojo in Irwin, PA.  He began his training as “Norwin Ninjas” the sister program to Viola Karate.

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Guy Junker Reports:

In the 1980’s Junker visited Allegheny Shotokan’s Doug Selchan as trained towards an Olympic dream as a member of the USA Karate Team.  Selchan would go on to win a Gold Medal (+80kg) Kumite at the 1999 Pan Am Games for karate in Winnipeg, Canada.  The USAKF was the National Governing Body for Karate under the auspicious of the WKF World Karate Federation a member of the IOC.  Master George Anderson was the President USA Karate and inducted Shihan Viola into the USA Karate Hall of Fame. The WKF will make its Olympic Debut in 2020 at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Allegheny Shotokan Karate is the only dojo in the United States to earn Gold Medals in both WKF and WAKO sanction Pan American events.  Selchan/Karate (1999) Eddy/Kickboxing (2018).  The diversity and skill set to compete at the highest levels of both NGB’s is a rare feat.

About Guy Junker:

Junker was the weekend sports anchor on WTAE from 1984 to 1990. In September 2006, he moved into that role again, and he can also be seen reporting during weekday newscasts.

A comfortable fixture for many viewers, Junker has covered local teams and athletes since 1978. He was on the Steelers Radio network for 10 years as pregame, postgame and halftime show host, delivered Penguins and Pirates postgame shows and is the longtime host of “The Penn State Football Story.” For his work on that show, he won regional Emmy awards for Best Sports Series.

Junker said his favorite part of working in sports is interviewing people.

He attended Penn State University and the University of Manchester in England, where he interned at the BBC in London.

Show Transcript:

At nine years old, what sports were you playing? Baseball? Maybe soccer or basketball? North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County native Xander Eddy dabbled in hockey but found his passion at the Allegheny Shotokan Viola Karate School.

“Xander is a true natural athlete,” says Bill Viola Jr., Xander’s sensei. “He would excel in any sport. That’s a given.”

Xander’s specialty, though, is kickboxing.

“Well it’s a fun sport,” he says. “You get to meet a lot of people, make new friends, maybe you could be one of the best!”

That’s something his sensei realized when Xander first showed up at the dojo at the age of three and a half.

“Just a spunky little kid, and he’s just never left. Here’s here 4-5 days a week,” says Viola.

Xander’s dedication paid off. Last fall, he qualified for the Panamerican Championship in Mexico.

“He had fights against Chile, Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico,” says Viola. “Lot of tough battles, lot of talented kids.”

Three wins, and Xander was on to the championship match. Two two minute rounds would decide the winner.

“It was close! We had to go into OT after the four minutes,” says Xander. “I got a head kick and a reverse punch, and after the minute was over, I won.”

Specifically, he won the gold medal. He is the youngest American ever to win the Panamerican Championship in kickboxing.

“My friends at school, they’re really proud,” says Xander. “My teachers are very proud.”

Not to mention, of course, his parents.

“It amazes me,” says Xander’s dad, AJ Eddy. “Every time we go to a tournament, I’m just amazed at what he does. Every time.”

“He’s truly a rising star in the sport,” says Viola. “And people are taking notice of him everywhere, even at his young age. You know, they start recruiting football players at that young age, he’s got that same swagger as a kickboxing and karate student.”

The accolades continue. Earlier this week, Governor Tom Wolf, State Senator Kim Ward and State Representative George Dunbar recognized Xander at the Capitol in Harrisburg.


About the author: Bill Viola Jr. is Amazon best-selling author and creator of the award-winning Sensei Says® life skills curriculum. He experienced the "Golden Era" of MMA firsthand as his father, Bill Sr., is credited as the co-creator of the sport of mixed martial arts in 1979. His book Godfathers of MMA inspired the critically acclaimed SHOWTIME film Tough Guys where he acted as a producer alongside an Academy Award accredited team. The Viola family owns and operates Allegheny Shotokan Karate in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania now celebrating their 50-year anniversary (1969-2019). He is currently the President of Kumite Classic Entertainment Corp. bill@kumiteclassic.com • Connect LinkedIn #senseisays #sokepokey #martialwayist