In boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts, a journeyman is a fighter who has adequate skill but is not of the caliber of a contender or gatekeeper. Outside of combat sports, a "journeyman" is a trader or craftsman who has completed an apprenticeship, but is not at the level of a master craftsman. Hence, when applied to sports, a "journeyman" implies a fighter who is no longer a novice, and has the sufficient degree of skill that may be expected from a professional, but who does not have the mastery possessed by the title contenders.
Journeymen will often serve as opponents for young up and coming prospects and will often step in at late notice should a fight fall through. Journeymen are said to have little or no expectation of winning fights against contenders or most gatekeepers, but this does not preclude them from having a winning record against less-skilled fighters.
In testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, DeGuardia states that becoming a journeyman is the fate of many professional boxers, and that a boxer will realize that he has become a journeyman "after about 10 years" in the profession. Journeymen boxers float "from promoter to promoter, or manager to manager, hoping to get placed as opponents in fights" by promoters, and making very little money. They will "fight all the time, anywhere, in order to make enough money to get by". In earlier testimony to the committee, it had been reported that some journeymen boxers regard themselves as existing in the sport solely as "a body for better men to beat on".
Svinth reports that the activities of journeymen boxers changed over the course of the 20th century, with journeymen of the 1920s fighting a couple of times per week and spending little time in the gymnasium, but journeymen of the 1990s fighting a couple of times per year and sparring in the gymnasium three or four nights per week.
|“||Journeymen are the foundation of boxing...Journeymen make boxing. Without journeymen you don’t get Miguel Cotto or Nate Campbell, or Joan Guzmán...You give me ten guys who are journeymen and I’ll give you fifteen or twenty guys that they (the journeymen) made world champions||”|
|— Nate Campbell - IBF & WBO Lightweight Champion"|
|“||I sold my soul to the flesh trade. I paraded isolated muscles controlled by an isolated mind. Promoters and managers are the farmers and we are the cattle.||”|
|— Michael Murray, former boxer - Author of The Journeyman|