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.[1][2]

In testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, DeGuardia[3] 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".[4]


Svinth[5] 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.


See also


  1. ^ Boxrec Definition of a Boxing Journeyman
  2. ^ Eastsideboxing The Journeyman Archived 2011-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Joe DeGuardia (1997). "Statement of Joe DeGuardia". In John McCain. Oversight of the Professional Boxing Industry: Hearing Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. DIANE Publishing. pp. 46–47. ISBN 0-7567-0427-8. 
  4. ^ Health and Safety of Professional Boxing: Hearings Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. United States Senate. 1994. p. 70. 
  5. ^ Joseph R. Svinth (February 2004). "Death under the Spotlight: The Manuel Velazquez Boxing Fatality Collection". Journal of Combative Sport. EJMAS. 
  6. ^ Suite 101 Interview with Nate Campbell
  7. ^ The Guardian The heavyweight who makes a bigger impact with words