The role of journeymen in boxing is often a misunderstood one. So I thought it would be a good idea to look at their role and why they are used.
Before we can look at their role and why they are used we must first look at what is a journeyman? Many boxing fans believe that a journeyman is just an old has been boxer who can’t compete at the top level anymore, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is they are very good and skilful boxers who are just looking to make a living but for whatever reason they haven’t made it big. Yes they do have losing records but this doesn’t mean they are bad boxers. They box week in week out, up and down the country often at short notice, because of this unlike most boxers they are in training all year round.
So now we understand what they are why does our sport need them? Journeyman are used mostly on small hall shows they often fight young prospects this is done to help raise the profile of young boxers. Now you may be thinking why don’t they just fight other young fighters, young boxers fight journeymen because they are often very tough boxers and a young boxer will gain more experience fighting a good journeymen than what they will fighting another young fighter. As journeyman are often very good all round boxers and they will allow young fighters to show off their skills while getting a good workout.
Within the sport journeymen are very well respected many people including me believe that journeymen are the bedrock of our sport I also believe for every 10 journeymen that are out there I can show you 20 fighters they have help make into a world champion that’s how important I believe they are to our sport. This can be proven look at any current or former world champions early records most it not all of them started their professional careers fighting journeymen they did this so that when they made the step up to the next level they had already gained some invaluable experience.
Now at this point I bet I know what your thinking why would any boxer want to become a journeyman? We think of boxing as a sport and of course it is but more than that it’s a business Frank Bruno once famously described boxing as show business with blood. So I believe that some boxers become journeymen because they need to make a living and put food on the table. It’s so often the case that you can be a very good boxer but you can’t afford to make it your full time job or you haven’t got the promotional support to make the next step. However just because a fighter is given the tag of journeyman doesn’t mean that is the end of their competitive career, throughout the history of the sport there have been a number of so called journeymen that have gone on to win a world title including Jim Braddock, Freddie Pendleton and Micky Ward.
I hope this has helped you understand the role of a journeyman please comment below and let me know your thoughts.